Jake Maddox

Field Service Engineer,

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How can we sustain infinite growth on a finite planet?

Human population growth is a serious problem that is growing by ridiculous geometric progression. Everyday approximately 200,000 people die, and in contrast 450,000 are born. That is a staggering 250,000 new mouths to feed everyday! We cannot support infinite growth on a finite planet! We're running out of land. Thousands of square miles of rain forest are gutted every year for palm plantations to produce palm oil so that masses can be sustained. Fresh water supplies are in limited quantities. Polution and contamination abound. Why do people ignore the realities of where we're headed? It frightens the crap outta me. It appears as though the discovery of oil is when things really took off. Oil ultimately led to the internal combustion engine so that huge amounts of land could be cultivated. Pesticides and fertilizers were also made possible via oil to enhance production yields. As well as affecting the pharmeceutical industry to produce vaccines. It's not natures way.

Check out this human population growth chart: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu/images/Popn_Graph2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu/themes/keytheme1.htm&h=324&w=524&sz=49&tbnid=YSJSr0mYU4gonM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=124&zoom=1&usg=__kIp3FdU9ydMckYq62HCWmiEmqXc=&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2nk9UOvmL8vsigKdhIGwDg&ved=0CCUQ9QEwAQ&dur=655

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    Sep 19 2012: We cannot. Period. Infinite growth is a consumer economy bubble that has burst already but it seems we know no better. The effort is now how much we can delay the Malthusian collapse by squeezing out the dwindling resources of earth using more advanced technology.
    About a decade ago Humans, as a single species were appropriating close to 40% of the total terrestrial photosynthetic produce - I do not dare to know the current statistics. The linear growth paradigm is a mass insanity just like praying for a miracle cure of a cancer patient without resorting to therapy.
    I do not want to sound overtly pessimistic by saying that even the natural cyclic growth-decay-growth is also an entropic slide down to an eventual stop.
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      W. Ying

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      Sep 20 2012: Yes;
      It is the "invalid happiness" to be blamed.
      Humans need only valid happiness to keep their DNA alive.
      They use their instincts out of the valid scope formed 10,000 years ago.

      So, just quit the invalid happiness and everything will be OK.
  • Aug 31 2012: A World Hunger Education Service report (http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm) "revealed" that "the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to the most recent estimate that we could find. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food."

    The root problem seems to be our current socioeconomic system and not natural resources itself. It's the way we allocate our resources, through the money/price/profit system, which causes all the human suffering and poverty. We actually have the technology today to provide technological abundance of natural resources and material, IF we choose to declare all of Earths resources as the common heritage of mankind and intelligently manage and allocate the resources based on peoples needs.
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      Sep 1 2012: Declaring Earth's resources as common heritage property?

      Sounds like a good idea.
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      Sep 22 2012: And
      Let people know it is silly to have invalid happiness.
      Be happy validly!
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    Aug 30 2012: even a 3% growth rate as the basis for economic growth is non sustaiable..we must strive for not just a sustainble but a thriveable equilibrium.

    A country like china whose economy is premised on a growth rate of 7% with one of the largest populations in the world already, is committing a crime against humanity, a crime against earthh and other nations should not in any way be feeding or fostering this growth rate.
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      Aug 30 2012: Here's what I'm seeing in my neighborhood. Home prices were 225k to 350k in 2006. They are now 125k to 150k with everyone underwater on their mortgages.

      Things settled down for a year or so after 2010

      Now, My neighbor next door was laid off as well as the neighbor across the street (they just had baby #3). Three neighbors up the street who all live next to each other just lost their jobs. I might add, these white collar jobs. Two members of my family have to trek all the way to California, hardly ever seeing their families anymore, just to keep their high paying jobs, which barely pay the bills. They are both under water on their mortgage.

      All three of the former millionaires in our family are struggling to keep from selling off their equipment. They have already sold all their property.

      There is no growth rate. It is a falsehood It is a negative value. and moving in the opposite direction.

      The only reason I can keep my head above water is because I sold my home in 2006 (foreseeing all this) and the fact I'm retired from the Military. But wait, congress (mostly republicans) are looking at my benefits and suggesting that we are getting too much. They want to cut it back a bit, actually a lot and it's really not that much.

      I say game over.
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        Aug 31 2012: Yes devastating and the story of "every man" in America. Real wealth has diminished by did I see 30% or something like that with no hope of reforming that unless we radically correct the banking system back to the business of banking and radically correct the entire basis of our economy from one that is growth based to one that is in balance and sustainable..

        That means all of us have to stop buying into this idea of owning more, having more, earning more, consuming more and re orient ourselves to having enough for us to live comfortably, eat well, be healthy and have access to quality health care, to have good work for fair wages and decent housing.

        We have to radically shift from an economy of consumerism and credit which requires continual growth to an economy of production, thrivability and balance that offers comfort and security and a decent standard of living. We can go a long way towards that by the choices we make as individuals every day in our lives but we cannot get there all the way until our governance also shifts clearly and radically to what is not just sustainable but thrivable. We have to push for our governments to make that choice.

        It is just unacceptable that nearly have of all Americans live at or below poverty level with no expectation of ever rising out of that unless something dramatic changes. It is just unacceptable that our government allowed student loans to be privatized and that an entire generation of young people are saddled with huge debts and no prospects of wage earning that can retire that debt . It is just unacceptable that millions of Americans owe more on their homes than they are worth because they were victimized by a profiteering scheme of banks. It is unacceptable that we have a chronic unemployment rate of above 8% ( of just those looking for work..more if you include people who needed and hoped to work 10 or 15 more years and just will never find work again.

        It is going to take a very very longtime.
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          Aug 31 2012: Yes we are going to have to do something "Drastic".

          Have you ever heard of the word "Boycott"?

          Check this out: http://www.ted.com/conversations/13581/let_s_bring_back_the_boycott_a.html

          The Occupy movement brings up the idea that some people are a bit upset but it puts people in harms way. Most people don't want to be arrested and put in Jail or pepper sprayed. I have a saying "Keep your money in your pocket", Note my profile picture. I also believe that the pen is mightier than the billy-club.
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        Aug 31 2012: Hi John,

        I'm seeing and hearing that story a lot at the moment - and not just my American friends.

        National governments do not have solutions. Community itself will have to stand up to fill the gap.
        It is just about time for town-hall meetings to comence in order to start building local infrastructure for local people. You could begin by establishing a neighborhood currency or barter system and have it prepared before the wheels totally fall of the international banking racket.
        As has been observed, in the great depression, nothing had changed - all the food production was in place, all the machinery still worked, but it was the money that failed.
        Some communities during the great depression understood this and implemented their own trading systems - this will have to happen again - only, we have a little more warning this time. Hopefully, more communities will be able to make the transition before war solutions start being the only way forward.
        It is plain that doing nothing and waiting for governments to save us is no longer an option.
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          Aug 31 2012: I agree Mitch. We have to switch to local economics and food growth while at the same time, spending less on products that are not locally produced. The short term problem is with housing. In my area, it's much cheaper to rent than to purchase a home.
          I also live in a neighborhood where when people lose their job, they lose their home.
          We also have an HOA that is not interested in changing the rules to allow people to have chickens for eggs and landscape with vegetables instead of worthless shrubbery.

          It's a challenge.
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        Aug 31 2012: Well .. recruit policemen. Can't see the state being able to pay them - they might like food in return for helping some folks stay in unoccupied houses - along with some feathered guests. .. I think that when the money goes off, the rules go off with it.
        People organise very quickly - but they need to know where to put their faith.
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          Aug 31 2012: We see news reports of that happening here in Georgia from time to time. :)

          The police (our brothers, cousins, fathers, mothers, sisters, etc) are just as affected by the down turning economy as any other.

          People do organize quickly but they organize around leaders that can solve their problems. We are becoming a leaderless world, with a complacent society.

          already there is a call within the Untied States to bring the troops home from around the world. Have you given any thought as to how that will affect individual countries on this planet. If we bring the 6th fleet home, China will seize on the opportunity and who would blame them?

          Like it or not, we are all tied together in one way or another.

          What have you done today to join the boycotting idea? focus on something and strip it from your lifestyle, never use it again. Use half the electricity you use everyday. Eat mor wholefood and less processed food. Never touch soda pop again.
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          Aug 31 2012: Hope this lands in the right place in the reply chain.

          I found a Canadian site that has a link to the cCitigroup plutonomy memo

          A must read!!!

          http://canadianclimateaction.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/citigroup-oct-16-2005-plutonomy-report-part-1.pdf
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        Aug 31 2012: John,

        The "backlash" it will take to end the plutocracy and bring about conviviocracy can come in many forms from silent personal choices to live within one's means and make responsible sensible choices to the public demonstrations of Occupy and the anarchists to organized boycotts.some of my favorites on the boycotts list are all bottled water, all plastics., all genetically modifiied and non organic food products.., and training ourselves out of chasing every new app and every new device put out on the market..

        In Michael Moore's eyeopening documentarry, Capitalism: A Love Story he refrred to a Citibank bank to its richest clients basically about the survival of the plutocracy. It has since been removed by citibank from all websites but I have a copy I am glad to send anyone. In it the anlalyst advises that the plutony is safe as long as there is no backlash..as log as people believ ein the myth f upward mobikity.

        So yes, we the people do have the powoer to create an entirely differemt economic premise for our country and to have it driven by inclusion and equal opportunity. So many of the modern constitutions are doing that . See my earlier TED Conversation "Is democracy synonymous with capitalism"

        Interestingly, the first democracy in Greece arose from straight out rioting , looting, and violence by a 99% fed up with income inequality..fed up with working hard to support an economic elite and being poor generation after generation.. I am not an anarchist and I agree there was unfocused and entirely avoidable harm from many protests but it did awaken people and it did rattle the cage of the plutonomy.
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          Aug 31 2012: I'll be spending some time reading on your website. It is interesting stuff. You have a keen eye for detail and organizing the facts.

          I've studied the Greek story. I often wonder what would be the worlds reaction if the united states exploded in such a manner.

          While globalization is a growing idea, separationism still controls our cultural identities. So many little frogs in many small ponds, united together to increase their wealth and play their games.

          Look at Greece today. Does anything last in the world? What is our true destiny?
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          Sep 1 2012: HI LIndsay,

          Thanks for the citi link.
          Assuming that plutonomy should be cancelled, may I suggest a method once published by a former ultra-right wing Australian prime minister?
          (I believe he was drunk at the time - these are the times to listen very closely to what politicians say).
          Here is teh method:
          "If you want to bring something down - anything, regardles of its merit this is what you do:
          All things political and social are supported by those who agree with them by means of defined support structures.
          The trick is to find the most rotten structure - there is always one - it will be the least defensible pilon beneath the platform.
          So you identify the most rotten one and just keep kicking at it until it collapses.
          This weakens all the rest - so you go and find the one that is under most stress and start kicking at that.
          After a few of these have fallen,m the rest are under great strain and it's a simple thing to make the whole thing topple with a littlle push."
          SO - according to your link these are the 6 pillars of plutonomy:
          1) an ongoing technology/biotechnology revolution,
          2) capitalist friendly governments and tax regimes,
          3) globalization that re-arranges global supply
          chains with mobile well-capitalized elites and immigrants,
          4) greater financial complexity and innovation,
          5) the rule of law, and
          6) patent protection.
          AS an anarchist and Luddite, I find all of these rotten - but which is the most rotten?

          Let us not dissipate our efforts - let's get onto that most rotten pilon and get our steel-capped boots into it - en-mass.

          (Edit: but I'd like to dissagree with the analyst in the link - all his charts demonstrate the exponential growth line in plutonomy - it is set to burn itself out.. But a little gasoline might make it more entertaining)
          PS - do you have a link to the Michael Moore peice?
          PPS - I think it's the rule of law pilon - income disparity is lockstepped with crime rates - .. what do you think?
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          Sep 1 2012: Oh BTW .. the NATO attack on Libya - absolutely.
          I didn't know they were looking at a gold-backed currency - but from the work I did for my Greek neighbourhood economy guys, we configured it with new economic rules that were designed to drive the Euro down and subsume all currencies/economies that came into contact with it.
          Such is the power of currency.
          I completed that design, but did not divulge the key features that grant total power of life and death to the currency issuer.
          I assume Libya would have planned to exclude usury from their new currency - and that is the reason Qadhaffi is dead now.
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        Aug 31 2012: HI John,

        Yes - leaderless. But as a devout anarchist, I don't mind that too much. The oportunity arises to fill the leadership vacuum with self-actualisation and self perpetuating social models.

        What have I done?
        Well, when one's eyes get opened it's a bit hard to watch television, drive a car, eat meat, allow your kid to go to a school or participate seriously in official politics. It's difficult to endorse religions or spiritual movements, engage with corporations or believe any of the rubbish being spouted in the media. It's difficult to pretend that any human not engaged in the production of duarable goods, food or essential services has really earned the right to cast a shadow.
        But this is all the passive stuff - apart from the boycotting I do.
        For active stuff:
        I make my living producing durable goods, I designed a neighborhood currency for some Greek friends, I have designed a world view that de-mystifies life and strips garbage from communication, I am designing a series of non-hierachial self-perpetuating social and value exchange systems. I fund and support non-hierachial activists such as wikileaks and support open-internet protests, I write to ministers - particularly to protest the treatment of asylum seekers. I endorse and promote the concept of social capital. I promote all these things in places like TED discussions and forums elsewhere.
        In a leadership vacuum, you would be surprised how easy it is to demonstrate a better way. But it takes a serious collapse of the facade for people to look away from the glamour that blinds their eyes.Just such a collapse is under way right now - and don't be so afraid of the Chinese. They are going to be busy with the same things as us - and then some.
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          Aug 31 2012: Sometimes our eyes are opened but not focused. That is how we awake in the mornings. :)

          You do much stuff. What I need of you is some buttons that have the message "Keep your money in your pocket" Just a few. I'm such a poor man with many family members to help.

          When it's all said and done, "You are what you do."

          I've have the same notions about the Chinese. I don't fear them I just think if we adopted their form of Capitalism, it would take even longer to reach the node of termination and reconciliation. Some are worried about their military build up but, they have to put people to work and keep control of them somehow. Hey! That's what they do in the military and they have a large population to be responsible for. The last thing you want is 3 billion people peeved off at you.

          I studied the rise of Communism in China and read first hand how the poor were starving. I read how the young intellectuals took it upon themselves to live with those people and help them rise above the poverty that most of the population was cemented in.

          While young intellectuals in our Country are looking for a cushy job with air conditioning, the smartest and brightest in China were/are digging ditches, breaking stones with hammers and living on dirt floors with the villagers. The rise of China was/is a tough road to travel. They deserve every moment of comfort they can manufacture.

          I never got to realize my dream of traveling to Australia. Maybe in the next life.
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        Sep 1 2012: Hi John,

        hmmm - you are not dead yet ;)

        I totally agree - we are what we do.
        This is one of the foundations of my world-view.
        There is only one thing that a person truly owns - his/her agency.

        It is our agency that generates abundance, it is our agency that ensures our survival, it is our agency that releases the absolute joy of life, But it is our agency that is sold as labour and IP.
        When sold, we lose our abundance, we lose our joy and we constrain our survival options.
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          Sep 2 2012: No, not dead yet but there is this perpetual smell of dirt. I can't fathom where it's coming from. I distinctly remember putting on my deodorant this morning. :)

          Now as to that last sentence you wrote, If I hire you and you lose your abundance, your joy, I will have to fire you so you can get it back again. I call that compassion. :)

          So your saying that agency is about being poor and out of work but full of joy and abundance. What happens to your agency when you pass on?
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        Sep 2 2012: Hmm smell of dirt? Do you have a cat?
        Or are we talking "nos habemi humus"?

        If you have abundance - how can you be poor?

        Yes compassionate - my absolute best friend on this planet once fired me. It was the only time I'd ever been fired, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
        I discovered my work. But before I could, I had to let go of the high-income "job" that was preventing me from seeing the difference between "job" and "work".
        If only one other on this plannet gets to see this through my words, I will have not wasted my agency ;)

        The magic thing about social animals is that they can transfer their fields of perception to each other.
        In this way, one's perception transcends death.
        If that perception enhances another's agency - then it will be imortal - so long as there are others to share it with.
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          Sep 2 2012: In the Nam, we were sitting around smoking pot, about 12 of us. We were pretty well wasted. One of our scouts (a north Vietnamese solder who gave himself up and worked with us), came in very upset and was spouting off in Vietnamese, something we couldn't understand. After becoming totally frustrated by us not understanding him, he said something in a dramatic voice, as if he was conjuring up some mystical force, hit each of us on our forehead then said in perfect English, "The other scout has taken off. He is a spy and has a camera and some documents".

          Of course we all jumped up and caught the scout and you don't want to know the rest of the story.

          Anyway, the points is: we were very high on a drug that can induce hallucinations and all other manner of mind tripping. The scout who was also a Buddhist monk in his village near Hanoi, did something to our brains that caused us to understand what he was saying because later (after we all got buzzed up again) we discussed the fact we all heard the same message, in English, even though the scout could not speak English. There was never any suspicion that the scout could speak English and was holding back on us.

          I would say he had the ability to transfer his perception of the situation, in English, to our brains in some Buddhist manner that transcends our understanding of communication. Had he not done this, it is very possible I would not be here writing this post.

          There is a lot of strange stuff going on in this reality and I've seen some of it with my own brain and it is, most of the time, associated with humans, in some form of Heightened state of mind.

          I was implying I was "old as dirt". :) Yes, a cat and small dog. Merlin the wizard puppy and Arial the Lion of God.

          So, are we soul-agents of a sort -you and I? :)
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        Sep 2 2012: I get that impression John.

        After a good deal of time exploring the mystical world, I decided to trash all the writings and customs surrounding it and go off into the materialistic side to exhaust "explainations". That is important to incinerate any dross floating about in religions and such - then what you are left with is the true spirituality.
        So far, I'm down to reconciling the Budhist no-thing with the core "self" as described by Damasio and other brain scientists.
        It is clear that many unknown phenomena are accessed through the no-thing. And the trick is to transcend "Maya".
        This gives me deep understanding of the problems and wonder in the nature of perception.
        There are 2 distinct fields of perception - one is tied to the senses, and one is tied to language.
        Perception and senses are still within the domain of Maya - separated from reality which is the "no-thing".
        Joining all this with neural net theory helps a bit - one discerns "topology". That all is shape and structure arising from shape.
        If one were to graph the synaptic potentials in our brains and lay them out, they would look like river systems, or river-deltas. They look like trees or ice-crystals except they are expressed in "potentials". The neurons in our brain are also organised in this way - particularly the cerebellum.
        There is a fractal quality to it all, and it indicates a harmony of shape.
        WHen you add chaos dynamics, you can see that chaotic systems are inherently resonant - they influence each other and produce self-similarity.
        And this is exactly what our brains are doing - they are matching synaptic topology with reality - making maps. But it is all Maya - the map is not the land, I cannot pour coffee into the word "cup".
        ANd yet, Maya is necessary for life.
        What are these places where the no-thing reaches out to touch us?
        Are there harmonies that bridge all in the infinite fractal turbulence ever-shrinking beyond our measurement?
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          Sep 2 2012: I too was enticed by the siren voice of destiny to fore-go all rigor and fame, to learn well beyond the D of ph. Maya you call it. I call it Ayam.

          They are spit in two separate directions from the beginning, hence are opposite of each other. One extends in the negative way the other along the positive path. Though their directions are away from one another they are still related within the two parallels of absolutism.

          Absolutism, you may recall tries to bring opposites together so they form some value of meaning; like the Yin and the Yang but with negative and positive consequences.

          I became lost when I learned that the line extends, not along a diminishing prospective solution, but disappeared over the horizon. I was perplexed and had no resolution of such things. I decided travel a bit further. Coming upon a place to rest. I looked behind and saw that not only did my direction of travel disappear over the horizon but behind me also took a turn below.

          Absolutism, it seemed, was a paradox of sorts, a parallelism that can sometimes lose it’s meaning if not applied in the proper sequence and order. I found myself back from where I started, as if I traveled nowhere at all. What was the worth of things, I asked myself, to travel along a journey where all things are each, greater than one another, move in opposite directions and yet have equal positive value when brought between the bars of absolutism.

          It was then I stumbled upon Eternity. I closed my eyes and thought to myself:
          If in the beginning there was nothing would there be nothing still?

          For how can something be derived from nothing?

          Further; if something can only be derived from something,
          does that not imply that something has always existed?

          If this is true then there was no beginning and and surely no end. There is just a joining together of all things that repeat themselves differently each time until the one true path is traveled then it all starts over again. So is the truth of all reality.
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        Sep 2 2012: Thus the journey is all things, and all things are the journey.
        This is our work - and our joy.
        Each step - easy or difficult reveals .. what good are words for this?
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          Sep 2 2012: You are correct. Perhaps personal inflection of the world is the real only way to experience it. Words only introduce distortion and create contention.

          I like that: "The journey is all things and all things are the journey" You can see my perspective of circular repetition being the only possibility we have in this configuration. I always see something differently when I see a movie more than once.
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        Sep 2 2012: It kinda doesn't matter whether things are circular or infinite.
        I see it as one of those "it is becasue it is" things.
        It is only the ego that seeks answers to such things.
        My take on the Ego is somewhat different to the Budhist or Freudian definitions.
        I prefer to see it as the "autobiographical self".
        In that definition you have the freedom to see that we create many autobiographical selves.
        In fact, it is the autobiographical selves that perform the essential code/de-code functions of language.
        I equate the Zen practice of departing from the ego with returning identity into the core self.
        The autobiographical self(s) is concerned with the secondary field of perception - the core self with the primary field.
        Probably, what your Buddhist guide did was to knock you into your core self.
        The event suggests that a core resonance expressed by the monk found its way directly into your primary field of perception - which dressed the primary maps with the appropriate words as it entered the secondary field.
        The secondary field of perception is a perrilous place - it is full of noise - assumption and false maps. It is populated by hundreds of variants of your core self. It is useful for running simulations of the self(and others) in communication/social scenarios. but it is too easy to confuse one's true identity with this rabble - and this is the goal of the Buddhist or Zen master - to realise identity is in the core self and participate only in primary perception. Primary perception is much less noisy and is not cluttered with noise and inter-personal projections.
        Bringing identity back into the core self does not stop the secondary field and autobiographical selves from operating, but instead of feeling you are in there, you see it as like a "consultant's department" and only pay attention to it at need. By not participating in the autobiographical stories generated in secondary perception, it tends to become a quieter realm.

        All living things have a self.
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          Sep 3 2012: "Bringing identity back into the core self does not stop the secondary field and autobiographical selves from operating, but instead of feeling you are in there, you see it as like a "consultant's department" and only pay attention to it at need. By not participating in the autobiographical stories generated in secondary perception, it tends to become a quieter realm." ~Mitch Smith

          I understand.
          Just when you get really deep into the center, your stomach grumbles and you realize the center of self is just one on many functions of personality comprising the Ego and it's goal to satisfy the Id. In other words, we can turn the noise volume down but never turn it off.
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        Sep 3 2012: Actually no.

        The core self is not the ego. In many ways it is the ID .. but that definition is probably shared with the proto-self .. which is, essentially, the state of the body.
        You can see it here:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/antonio_damasio_the_quest_to_understand_consciousness.html
        The proto self has a set of senses that are not counted in most models.
        These are the senses that monitor our critical body states. They get loosely labeled "feelings and emotions". But they are just as distinct as sight, touch, taste, hearing and tactile.

        It is my suspicion that there is more than just body regulation here in the proto self - that there are much subtler senses being monitored, besides blood pressure, temperature, heart rate etc etc - we just haven't measured them yet.

        THis is from the access point of the physical sciences and the material perspective.
        The observations of the spiritual lead to conjecture on the structures of things not yet explained, but having the material perspective helps to debunk the rubbish in spiritual writings and customs that have purely materialistic origins.

        I extrapolate beyond Damasio that there is more than a single autobiographical self - I extrapolate that we create self-pairs in our brains (one for self, one for other) and that this self-pair is the mechanism required for communication code/decode necessary for language.
        Theh dynamics of these self pairs are noise-reducing due to the convergence that happens between the pairs between one person and another - the 4 selves (one pair for each individual in a communication) they all converge to close similarity after a few iterations of transaction.
        These selves are then neither self nor other, but we tend to forget this.
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          Sep 3 2012: Do you have any research to support your suppositions or is this just free range thinking?
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        Sep 3 2012: It's research.
        At one time I was a forecasting systems consultant and statistical analyst.
        For about 4 years I experimented with neural net systems and basic synaptic AI models.

        I left it alone for a few years then came this work on the Bayesian nature of neural forecasting:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html
        This in conjunction with Damasio's work (and others).
        Then you add the work on AI by Marvin Minski and you have a picture of resonant topologies.
        And it all has to do with adaptation.
        The Bayesian forecasting method starts with a premise - a "belief", then tests it against observation in a temporal framework and adjusts the "belief" which becomes a functional causal map - that can predict patterns over time as well as static shape. It also has the property of detecting self/not-self in observations (as Wolpert demonstrates). Wolpert also points out the basif noise-reducing property of this method.
        With the resonant self-pair model I am merely describing what happens - and you can observe it in yourself. For everyone we meet, we have an image of them - their face, name, voice, and manerisms. Over time we also gain understanding on their behavioural differences to ourselves.
        With experience, we learn to turn a specific face towards them to facilitate cooperation - to enhance our advantage (mutual or personal). Each "self" starts as a snapshot of our core self and then converges - not with reality, but with the self face that we show each other. FOr all intent and purpose, the 4 selves become the same. The "snapshot selves" are abstractions of the real core self, but they retain the capacity to connect with actual body feelings and responses - in this way, if we envision(predict) a harm occuring to either self or other, we can get a real body reaction as if teh harm actually took place. This is called empathy. Empathy by way of real body connection to fictitious selves is the centring factor that drives convergence.
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    Aug 29 2012: It can't. There is only so much stuff.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html
  • Sep 22 2012: By completely reconsidering our concept of growth.

    Instead of economic growth, what about the growth of the 'sustainability bubble' (not in the perjorative economic sense, but in terms of what the bubble grows to encapsulate)?

    That is, the more energy and the more materials and technologies we are able to bring under the banner of 100% sustainability, the more real growth we have.

    At this point in time, we're in a negative growth phase in those terms - because we're making things less sustainble through our actions.

    Another angle to consider growth from is experiential and information growth. Imagine high quality VR technology... essentially a maturation of visual/sensory computing technology found in games; it's a system that will provide experiences independent of material consumption.

    And ultimately, that's kinda what the human experience boils down to - a series of interlinked and interconnected sensory experiences. The experience of conspicuous consumption can be easily replicated in virtual space - and in doing so, it can reduce the importance of real conspicuous consumption.

    How much value is there in a boat, a big house, a fast car... when all these things are difficult and expensive to purchase and maintain - and there's an alternative where you can experience all these things and better at next to full sensory fidelity in VR?
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    Sep 19 2012: That depends on to whom the term "we" is referring. You and I cannot do diddly one way or the other, Jake Maddox. Let's suppose that "we" are 100% of the human family. Now which direction we take depends on what on this planet we agree is worth sustaining. Some would have us wait for a war or plague or rampant starvation, judging by some of the entries here. Actually everything we need to know is what we all should have learned at Kindergarten age. Share. Don't fight or keep things to yourself. Hold hands if we are going somewhere uncertain. Celebrate each person as another you. Don't purposely hurt people. If you accidentally hurt people, say you're sorry and mean it. Get and give hugs every day. They're free and good for you. When there is not enough of something to go around, the sensible thing to do is take turns.

    Every day there are billions of people trying to pass on these ideas. We need to revisit this lesson and practice compassion. Compassion equals health from self to community. Empathy is not a long lost art. We can always at least copy the behavior we think is good. Mirror neurons trigger mirrored emotions. If you watch Schindler's List, follow Schindler's approach, not the Nazis.
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      Sep 20 2012: Yes.
      If we do symbiosis right, we have to quit invalid happiness
      Right?
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    Sep 15 2012: Perhaps infinite growth can be maintained virtually. Virtual economies, virtual identities. In the physical world, our 7 billion number seems not nearly enough to achieve our enormous potential. We have 7 billion minds that are just beginning to become networked to the point of critical mass. Our institutions and corporations are networked, our minds are connected with low latency.
    We have the capability to distribute handheld devices to every family on the planet that will provide connectivity to the virtual. We have the ability to grow food in abundance including meat. We have the ability to print housing. We have the ability to use energy to manufacture water out of air.
    The more minds that are connected and sustained, the more power we will have to sustain the Earth. Our society starts with self. We must take care of ourselves and our society and our planet will do just fine. Our jobs should be to increase connectivity and facilitate the growth of our own thought so we can figure a way out of this mess.
    To do that , I suggest we default monetarily and allow central banks to default and distribute the debt, the currency around the world, and increase the median. That will allow for more volatility and facilitate critical mass.
    Compassion is the capital of humanity. A network of humanity is its own economy.
    We must not be afraid of compassion.
    • Sep 17 2012: That is a good way to use the Population or we can say the human resources when they are working together as a team to accomplish a huge target/goal.
      But there also arises a need.
      For Ex : If we have a person to bring water for us (Easy Task). Why would we need more than one? And if we have more we have to use resources for multiple in place of one.
      I guess you can understand my way Sir!
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        Sep 17 2012: After years of innovation, humans have developed a robot that with bring you a cup of water filled with a drop from every well on the planet.
  • Sep 14 2012: "How can we sustain infinite growth on a finite planet?"

    We can't.
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      Sep 21 2012: You are tight!
      We have to quit "invalid happiness" to stop the growing.
      The growth has exceeded its optimal point too far.
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        Sep 21 2012: Or we can find another finite planet to grow on...
  • Sep 6 2012: One way to address overpopulation is to stop pressuring people to have children. Don't tell people who choose not to have children that they are being selfish or immature or that they owe it to the world to pass down their DNA. Not everyone wants children and it's no harm to the rest of us if they feel that way. Do not tell youngsters that "everyone has children" or speak to them as if being a parent is guaranteed. Change a simple statement of "when you have kids..." to "if you have kids..."

    One of my colleagues was commenting that becoming a parent is a basic rite of becoming an adult. I would like to see this attitude change. Every little way we can think of to stop teaching youngsters and young adults that becoming a parent is expected of them to be normal will help. Over time the many messages we receive that we are destined to have children frames the outlook of many people so that there is no question in their minds about being a parent: they have never considered doing otherwise.
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      W. Ying

      • +1
      Sep 7 2012: To have kids is the gaol of huamn life. It is very diffidult to change.
      But we can easily keep it at its optimal point of two kids per couple.
      Then, no overpopulation any more.
      • Sep 22 2012: Oh wow .. I have been running in the wrong direction if having children is the goal of human life!! Jeeezzzzzzzzzz ... This explains a lot.
        Oh well ... I am sure that someone out there will have my 2 kids for me.

        But I get your point W. Ying. People need to ditch "Invalid Happiness" choose need above greed and wear a condom or somthin' ... please.
    • Sep 22 2012: Good Points Karen. I support my freinds who have kids and those who, like me, choose to babysit ( or NOT.)
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    Sep 6 2012: Well I think overpopulation is a big problem, we´re taking more resources than our plant can give us. But there are many ways to change it, one of them is to tray to improve the sexual education in order to reduce the natal rates and in adition, governments need to change norms, rules, and things like that about this topic. It culd be a little bit utopian in some countries where to have many children, or many wives its ok because is part of their eduacion or mode of government.
    But It will be a good solution, in this scenario governmets coud keep more people, the resources would be sufficient for all, less polution, etc.
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    Sep 2 2012: How can we sustain infinite growth on a finite planet? We can not. We can extend the period of growth with more effective technology, or taking resources from other planets or asteroids, but at some stage the demands will outweigh our ability to supply.

    Beyond our solar system the distances are probably impractical in the time frames we are talking about.

    I guess this will be self correcting if we don't address it earlier. Could be some nasty self corrections.

    Why do people ignore the realities of where we're headed? I guess because we are just smart apes, still stuck with instinct and not enough reason. We favour immediate benefits over long term ones even with costs down the track. And we have a whole system built on growth, and we don't have enough mind over instinct or immediate self interest.

    Global warming is a great example. We don't notice anything immediately. We don't want to pay the price if others continue to pollute. We are just like frogs boiling slowly perhaps. But I guess if things get noticeably worse and there is a more immediate cost to us, we will change behaviour, just perhaps not at the optimum time, with hindsight.

    I note birth rates have slowed in some countries. Although consumption continues to increase in these. And in poor countries people have more babies. I don't think population increase is an impossible problem to address. The economic and systematic ones are.
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      Sep 2 2012: Hi Obey NoOne Kinobe..nice to see you in this iscussion.

      Jake an other commenters..here is a Wikipedia link on "doubling"..how long it takes for a given constant growth rate on anything..debt,population. :

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubling_time".

      It gives an example of how even a moderate under 1% growth rate like Canada's could result in a doubling of population.in less than 20 years.

      So applied to a scenario of zero population growth a national economic policy premised on 3% growth in GDP would require producing and selling an astronomically greater volume of goods in a very short time. That is every worker would have to produce more an more and more an every household would have to consume more and and more per capita . and to make that possible people would have to go into debt more and more an more to buy all those goods.

      Overlay that onto our consumer centered economy almost entirely creating a 3%per year growth in GDP out of disposable technology..technology made redundant a not supported by its manufacturer almost from ay one of a purchases research technology upgrade mostly likely financed on a credit card with a balance on the last purchase of the newest product.. And from the supply end..how do you pull that off..well you outsource actual production of your product where environmental and labor regulations are not so "modern" because otherwise people back home couldn't possible buy new technology every time there was a technology change.

      At Occupy Cafe ( www.occupycafe.com) we spent quite a bit of time exploring what makes a "sustainable" economy and in no time it became clear to all of us that it meant. It meant changing everything about what we produce an how we produce it. You can only have a thriveable economy if thing are actually durable,repairable and essential. Buckie Fuller i a lot on these ideas years ago..
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      Sep 6 2012: I think:
      Quit invalid happiness and we can delay human self-extinction 100 centuries at least!
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    Aug 31 2012: I agree Efrain.... but I believe Nature is very resilient and finds ways to survive ...my favorite is the Pelican - it looks a survivor from the Dinosaur time period.....Humans will change as we change our food sources....we don't know the long term side effects of ingested hormones - some hormone therapies we know causes cancer - others may give us a longer life span.... we may become more susceptible - maybe we'll begin to look more like those little green men?!
    ... I have found that the most important thing we are suppose to do right now is enjoy our lives - and as we enjoy living we will find ways to help solve some of these problems - opportunities will arise when we least expect it. When we are in a positive frame of mind we can see solutions to problems faster.
  • Aug 30 2012: This topic needs to be front and center, especially on TED. Thanks for taking it on. I'll try to join in later, right now I'm going fly fishing.
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      Aug 30 2012: My pleasure Dan. Catch a Brownie or Rainbow for me. :-) Stonefly Nymph's and Copper John's are some great flies this time of year, at least in Colorado. Going to hit the South Platte in October when the Brownie's are running. Good luck!
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        Aug 30 2012: I find it a little disturbing that you first ask how to sustain growth on a finite planet, and afterwards give advice on how to fish for fun.

        I do not think that there is an answer for us to sustain our current lifestyles (growth and unrestrained abundance). In contrary I think the answer is to change our lifestyles. To put less emphasis on material wealth and more emphasis om psychological wealth. To think of the consequences of our personal actions and act accordingly.
        Don't get me wrong. I'm not launching a personal attack on you. I'm just trying to underpin that we all (me included) have the power to limit our personal imprint on nature... And nature is ultimately what is supporting the existence of the human species.
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          Aug 30 2012: You obviously have no idea how sportsman contribute financially to the Department of Fish and Game and how that is directly responsible for increased wildlife populations. Most fisherman utilize a catch and release policy anyway. If there was any danger to a species, the ability to hunt or fish it would be regulated and enforced. Even though thousands of deer are hunted every year, there is an overwhelming number that exist, which is why many states have authorized hunters to take two or even three. And the food is consumed, deer sausage is amazing. I'm sure your ancestors hunted and fished for sustenance.
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          Sep 23 2012: Yes.

          It is a question of lifestyle.
          We need a lifestyle that leads us happily for ever to keep our DNA alive.
          This style is well proven by our ancestors 1,000 years ago.

          That is, be happy validly!
  • Aug 30 2012: @Jake Maddox "Why do people ignore the realities of where we're headed?"

    Just relax, accept that in long term we are all dead, and live your life the best way you can.
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/
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      Aug 30 2012: Lol, a rather macabre and morose outlook Leszek, but true. "Dust in the wind..........all we are is dust in wind." :-(
  • Aug 29 2012: it cannot be sustained, there is only one ending to this problem.
    There will be widespread suffering and war once we have reached the maximum population the earth can sustain (let us hope we don't completely destroy the biodiversity).
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      Aug 30 2012: Sadly I agree Scott. Whether the widespread drought the U.S. is facing is a product of global environmental changes or due to the Sun being at solar maximum I'm not sure. But if this is a sign of things to come something drastic will take place. We will need more arable land to sustain our ever increasing demands. The U.S. will consider expanding to new areas for agriculture. I think they will turn to Africa. There are millions of acres that could be converted to farmland. I doubt the U.S. will encounter much resistance.
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        Aug 31 2012: If we do "colonize" Africa I hope we do a better job of managing African field laborers than we did 150 years ago.
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      Sep 24 2012: I think

      We can sustain if we quit SILLY invalid happiness.

      Only be happy validly!
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    Aug 29 2012: Hi Jake,

    It is a question that is gaining traction these days.
    Those who say "find another planet" ignore what non-linear growth does.
    At 3.5% growth, by the time we fill this planet, it will take us 20 years to fill another planet, then another 20 years to fill 2 more planets, then another 20 years to fill 4 etc - such that at a certain point, we will be looking for new galaxies to fill.

    But let's not kid ourselves - we won't be filling other planets any time soon.

    Some say that the population will "level-off" at around 9 billion in 20 years or so. But as an ex forecasting analyst, I can say that it's a brave person who believes any forcast beyond 3 months.

    The problem will compound whilever humanity persists in closing off from the open system of the universe.

    If we are to believe the archeology, our logrihtmic growth was initiated by farming about 10,000 years ago.
    The recent correlation with fossil fuel use is entirely consistent with the curve - it is corrollary, not causal.

    "Burnout" happens when exponential growth becomes a vertical singularity. Exponenttial growth happens when systems are closed. Farming is a classic example of closing a system.

    To avoid burnout, we must look at ways of re-opening the system - even if it is a partial controled re-opening. We must start letting the earth share our crops. IF we don't find this principle as a civillisation, the burnout will re-open the system for us.

    Either way, the problem will get fixed.
    • Comment deleted

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        Aug 30 2012: Heya Myf,

        I think the first thing we should do is stop denying our poo.
        Human poo represents one of the exponential problems we face.
        By concentrating it, it becomes toxic. If it was given back to the Earth with a measure of reverence it can re-enter the open system.
        Why do we deny our poo?
        Well - here's a little story:
        A baker made a loaf, a human bought the loaf for one coin and ate the loaf.
        The loaf was turned into poo which the human saved in a tank.
        The baker saved the coin in his bank-account.
        The banker loaned the coin to someone else.

        A bowyer made a bow, a human bought the bow for one coin and used the bow to catch food for the remainder of his life. The human gave his poo to the ground, the bacteria ate the poo, the grass ate the bacteria and brought the sunlight into the earth, a rabit ate the grass, the human killed the rabit with his bow ...
        The bowyer saved his coin in his bank account.
        The banker loaned the coin ..

        Another bowyer decided to get more coins so he made a bow that could only be used once then broke and turned into poo. ..

        The moral of this story is that our bank accounts are, largely, filled with poo - and poo is all that one can borrow. And all that poo is denied from the Earth. The Chain is broken, the poo becomes poison, the sunlight stops entering the earth. All turns to dust leaving only a pile of coins.

        Some of those coins do not represent poo. - but how can one tell the difference?
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        Aug 30 2012: Try this:

        Find a tree.
        Go to it.
        Observe it quietly.
        Grab a branch and feel it.
        Observe the feeling of it.
        Ask it for strength.
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      Aug 31 2012: Are you a pessimist ("any forecast beyond three months" [is probably bogus]), or are you an optimist forecasting analyst ("the problem will get fixed")?
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        Sep 1 2012: Hi Edward,

        I don't take the inadequacy of forecasts to be pessimism.
        I can certainly get the service level of a supermarket chain from 77% to 95%.
        But that's high-volume consumer goods with statistical sample stability from millions of units per time-bucket agregated through 4 levels of distribution..
        Even then, it would be a fool who purchased on any forecast longer then 3 months.
        With long order cycles (anything greater than 2 weeks) I always included strong trend damping on increased demand lines. That might have been a bit pessimistic, but it certainly stopped the warehouse being clogged with 6 months national supply of wheet-puffs - specially after we'd reduced the order cycle to a couple of hours - I presume the cocain and hooker were particularly good in that transaction ;)
        No, none of this stuff can predict what emergent factors will come into play - or when they will arrise..
        The best I could to was to disconnect goods from physical form-fit-function into a demographic-fashion-unit to get some traction on high obsolescence and convergence rates.
        THere is simply no unit demand continuity any more - certainly nothing like the 3 years history you need for a stable 3-month projection.
        I find tarot cards to be just as useful as computers in this regard.
        Will things "fix themselves".
        Only if you truly understand the "attractors" at work in the chaotic systems you observe.
        If things have a self - they will certainly stabilise, but only in terms of that "self" and it may not be human.
        Money and corporations for instance have "selves" and are not at all aligned with anything remotely human.
        But humans have selves, and communities have selves. what good is it that technology rids us of fleas only to replace them with robots, or some other parasitic entity?
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        Sep 1 2012: Forecasting is limited.
        I have reasons for saying that.
        If someone is brave enough to say that the human population on planet Earth will peak at 9billion in 10 to 15 years they are kidding themselves.
        In that timespan there is a good chance that something will come from left-field to make it a joke.
        optimism/pessimism is not a factor of forecasting. That's the domain of gamblers.
        I'd rather see it in terms of:
        an asteroid might hit the planet and wipe us all out in a flash, but on the other hand, each new moment of life is unique - sometimes surprisingly so.
        Until the asteroid hits - enjoy them moments.
        Even between now and when you go to bed are infinite moments.
        That's something to be optimistic about ;)
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          Sep 1 2012: Thanks for translating. I still think the layman can properly label any forecast as optimistic, pessimistic, or neutral. If not forecasting (whether optimistic or pessimistic) what is the basis for your optimism/certainty/belief/conviction/opinion that "the problem will get fixed"?
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        Sep 1 2012: HI Edward,
        That's a good observation!

        Yes, the layman labels these things.
        It's a product of the necessary process of "assumption".
        Assumption is a kind of "gap-filler" in one's world view.
        "One" being the key.
        And, I must stress, that all except the statistician who performed the forecast are laymen unless they have also looked at the data and understand the methods used to extract trends. THe statistician also assumes that the trends identified have a critical role in the decisions of the intended audience of the forecast - and that, that audience has the skills to interpret the trend.
        This is the danger of statistics and the practice of forecasting.

        Take, for instance, the statistical analysis of citibank (given to us by Lindsay in this thread):
        http://canadianclimateaction.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/citigroup-oct-16-2005-plutonomy-report-part-1.pdf

        In this analysis the statisticians are analysing wealth disparity by national demographic. It indicates a trend towards greater wealth disparities in plutocratic nations. The intended audience are equities traders.
        THe trends revealed show that equities are a good investment based on the assumption that they are currently under-valued due to risk factors being over-estimated. THey assert that risk factors are being over-estimated due to a failure to distinguish the difference between plutocratic and non-plutocratic nations. They also indicate that investment in toys for the rich 1% is a good idea because the rich dominate more than half the market in plutocracies.
        For the intended audience (equities traders), this might be a basis for optimism, but for those who are not equities traders or part of the rich 1% this is grounds for intense pessimism.

        However, they assert that the trend is stable for the next few years. I dispute that. I dispute it on the grounds that:
        1. many of their trends show exponential growth. Exponential growth lines lead to burnout.
        2. it is growth based - for humans only. (contd)
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        Sep 1 2012: 3. They have excluded emergent economies. Emergent systems are known to be disruptive to trends. But they have admitted that.

        If you were the trader taking on-board this analysis, your expertise would assist you in making any decision based on it. I would presume that no trader in his right mind would commit to anything beyond 3-months based on this analysis.
        WHat we don't see in this analysis is the publications that preceded and follow it. It is taken in an isolation that is spurious.
        Forecasts are a moving-feast - one does them continually and as you go you improve the quality of the forecast by comaparing older forecasts to what actually happens.
        Forecasts cannot predict emergent factors - they can only adapt to them after they emerge.

        I am not optimistic that things will "fix themselves" I am certain that things that have a "self" will survive until they are killed by something that disrupts that "self".
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      Sep 24 2012: I would believe that

      Human's accuracy is too high to immigrate into space.

      We have to stay on the earth and quit SILLY invalid happiness and be happy validly for 100 centuries more!
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        Sep 24 2012: Energy-->senses-->perception-->self-->potential agency-->decision-->agency-->motion-->change
        repeat.
        All between senses and motion is metaspace. It is resonant/adaptive topology
        Happines resides in metaspace - to persue it is to chase ghosts.

        Well being is to change energy in order to persist.
        Potential agency - this is a thing that Americans call "freedom" but have no idea what they are talking about.
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    Gail .

    • +1
    Aug 29 2012: People should become aware of what is forthcoming. People in the industrialized nations seem to be unaware that hunger is climbing in more places than Africa. In the USA in 2010, 14.5% of the households were food insecure, in that they did not have enough food to last a week. Of those, one third (5.4% of households) do not have enough food for the day. This is a number that is climbing. Global warming - whatever the cause - is making the problem more severe, as is over-population.

    But the part that I think is unconscionable is that the global economic model - which is a strange form of capitalism - is giving incentives to giant agra-businesses who destroy aquifers and topsoil. Oil companies who use fracking to get natural gas are destroying more. All giant businesses are destroying our human nest - whether directly, by those who destroy the air and plunder resources, or indirectly, as in Goldman Sachs that finances such ventures.

    Most people don't know that in the Great Depression, food rotted in the fields because farmers couldn't get crops to market and no one had $ to buy them - and there was real hunger in America.

    Our economic model is soon to crash, and it wasn't until last night (Chris Christie's speech) that I realized that the 2 parties are fighting about who will be in control when it crashes.

    All studies show that our social ills are caused by wealth disparity, and our government stands firmly behind the wealthiest even as they know what they are doing. But people will vote for one of the two parties, even though BOTH parties are the problem.

    A must see 5 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4JsCEYpIUA&list=PL89DA217D574A8362&index=3&feature=plpp_video

    We must get rid of $$$ and political parties, and we must find a way to convince people to educate themselves because they have been intentionally lied to and had important info withheld because an educated people do not serve the corruption. We ARE a "race" of laborers.
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    Aug 29 2012: Not only that we can't sustain mass numbers there's climate change that will affect all low lying coastal cities and the salinating of those areas water tables from rising sea levels.
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    Aug 29 2012: We move to other planets...
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      Aug 29 2012: I like it! Good luck with that however. Mars is really out of the question. Everyone seems to think we can live there, "Just terraform it!". There is that slight problem of no electromagnetic field that everyone seems to forget, or the 1/3 gravity. That's ok, humans can simply evolve into 8 feet tall mutants from the cosmic rays bombarding our DNA on a daily basis. Lol :-)
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        Aug 29 2012: Personally, I think we have a better chance trying to find a way to maintain life on the ocean floor, and then moving to Europa. But, don't forget, we could move to other planets, pick up resources, and then build up vertically on this planet, with another planets ore, food, oil, etc...
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          Aug 29 2012: Yes, I think the oceans will be the next place we colonize. I think that we will have to control birth rates though eventually. Certain demographics, in America and across the globe, continue to have children that they cannot afford. I see 10 starving children huddled around their mother on television asking for food and I think "Why is she still having children? Who would bring a child into such an existence?". It's a huge problem and I know some people will have a problem with what I said but they need to wake up and face the reality of what is happening to this planet. I'm not afraid to say what needs to be said. That's half the problem in this country anyway.
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          Aug 30 2012: @David,

          Has anyone done the mathematics to show what happens to our planet when you increase its mass?
          I know that about 40 tons of space dust and rocks fall on us every day.
          But 40 tons per day is nowhere near the magnitude of industrial consumption.
          What happens when you increase the Earth's mass by 400,000 tons per day?
          (assuming that it's all coming from asteroids or some other planet we are junking).

          Well .. at a guess, I'd say that, for starters, the earth's rotation will slow - days will become longer .. how does that affect the weather?

          Oh, and how does that affect our orbital stability around the Sun?

          Until the math is done, we can't know whether the practice will screw us up slowly or quickly, but mining asteroids is not something I'd like to risk..
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      Aug 29 2012: We will move off of planet Earth, but not to other planets. Space itself has all the resources we need to live, and to expand infinitely. In space, we'll live on some sort of bernal sphere or O'Neill sphere. Please read Mining the Sky by John S. Lewis and The High Frontier by Gerard K. O'Neill.
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        Aug 30 2012: I think you're both right... but if Europa, or one of the other moons with water, recieve enough radiant heat energy from nearby gas planets, or an as yet undiscovered molten center... It is possible that life is actually much easier on one of these moons, than it would be in the vaccuum of space.

        I think we could go the route Lawren describes... but I'd probably rather stay on earth if that was the case, as Myf E suggests.

        Mitch, good question, but, we could just change the composition of the mass of the earth... We could take some earth with us on our way out, to make up for what we bring back. Thus bringing soil to a planet that can use it to create life, and replacing it with precious ores we use to make gadgets and space ships. Just a thought.
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          Sep 21 2012: Yes,
          Let's stay on earth.
          And can stay here happily for 100 centuries more if we just quit invalid happiness.

          It will be very difficult to go in space!
          Humans have ultra-high accuracy.
          To be adapted to space life, humans have to evolve into an animal completely different from humans.

          Is it?
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          Sep 21 2012: Very good idea!


          But how can we adapt to the non-earth environment?
          Will that need us to evolve into a kind of animal that is entirely different from human beings?

          I think the easiest way is to quit invalid happiness.
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    Sep 27 2012: To come back to the original question, Rockstrom et all have shown that at least 3 out of 9 planetary boundaries have been crossed (and the changes are irreversible). For an interesting read on this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries

    Kate Roworth of Oxfam International proposes a doughnut hypothesis to tackle the situation and I have difficulties agreeing with her. http://pabitraspeaks.com/why-a-doughnut-now/
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    Sep 24 2012: Do you wonder if the earth will self regulate? That the "natural" disasters that come from global warming will help to remove some of the "blights" on earth. It is scary and seems random- I think if we begin to make some of the changes in our policies and behaviors maybe we can regain some control, but in the end- we have very little. The earth chews and spits out now and then what isn't working for it I think.
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    Sep 24 2012: Fix the loop of sustainability. Finding solutions is not the main problem, but making everyone else to take them seriously is.
  • Sep 24 2012: We can't sustain infinite growth on a finite planet, but I'm hopeful that the population growth will plateau, the ingenuity of humankind will come up with solutions to our resource problems and that all of this happens before we have pushed the ecosystem to its brink.

    I see mentioned below that the average number of kids a family has is diverging to two. This video by Hans Rosling makes a very strong case that population will eventually plateau as the standard of living and eduction is raised for the poor. http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html

    We already have the technology to supply energy without the use of natural resources, but currently renewables are too expensive. We won't truly see them catch on until there is a shortage of natural resources, driving up their costs, or governments start taxing the use of natural resources. People will make decisions that financially benefit them.

    Again we have the capability to create clean water, it is just an energy intensive process.

    I'm no ecologist, but I do believe the environment is pretty resilient. I've seen some pretty impressive restoration projects. My only hope is that we can keep everything in check long enough for the population to plateau and for green technology to surpass the use of natural resources. I love the outdoors and I hate to see the damage we've caused.

    I don't like what I see, but I am optimistic...
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: Yes. I think:

      (1) Two kids per couple is the optimal number today according to our instincts.
      (2) There will be more than plenty of resources and energy if we quit SILLY invalid happiness.

      Be happy validly!
  • Sep 23 2012: We are talking about very difficult , sometimes even unimagined techical problems more than political ones. However, if you review the history of the last hundred or so years, we started out with zero airplanes, most people saying it was impossible to fly, and within 60 years, we managed to send people to the moon and bring them back alive. (!) During the same time period, there was this ongoing problem about Palestine, and the Middle East in general. I submit that the absence of ANY significant political progess in that time is a proof that technical problems are much easier to solve than political ones. And by the way, it is not necessary to go 600 light years away to find some alternative habitations. Within our own Solar system we have various possiblities within reach. Therefore I am suggesting that , quicker than getting Arabs and Jews to agree on anything, would be the project of terraforming some planet to sustain humans.
    • Sep 24 2012: I like your comment about flying. Our concerns and fears will be so different 50 years from now. What we can only dream today will be reality tomorrow.

      Do you really think it would be worth the effort of terraforming a planet when we can't even manage the one we have in a sustainable way?
      • Sep 25 2012: Andrew: rmember the "mismanagement" you are talking about is mostly political nonsense. if it were left to the kind of people who managed the moon project, we would be doing a lot better. Examples : going Green is fine, but Ethanol is a political and financial scam. It wouldn't be nearly as hard to convince techno-geeks of that, if indeed any need convincing.. Thorium LFTR power is the answer to a great many of the management problems you are talking about, but the details about it are distastefful to ordinary people, so they just say "Well , if it were that good we would have done it already." About as stupid an answer as could be imagined, but subscribed to by many, some of them with "Colllege degrees". At the very least, Terraforming would be a venture popular with the group that was doing it; sort of like the morale of any group doing somethng new and dangerous. Windmills and solar panels are fine too, but there is simply no way they will solve the energy problem, except theoretically. Try telling that to a Green Luddite liberal arts grad. Then there is the matter of conflict and warfare. I vernture to say that in a terraforming situation, such a waste of time and evergy simply wouldn't happen, not until it had been a success for a hundred years at least.
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      Sep 24 2012: I think:

      (1) Terraforming a planet is almost impossible for the extremely fragile humans of ultra-high accuracy.
      (2) There will be more than plenty of resources and energy on the earth if we quit SILLY invalid happiness.

      Be happy validly!
  • Sep 23 2012: Let me share with you my cosmogony; the way I see this issue. In the past, people used to have many children, it was a part of their "modus-vivendi" for many reasons. First of all, the circunstamces they lived were very different: there was a lot of land to even explore, medicine was very limited and therefore live expectancy was very short, having many children was a way to increase the work force in the typical family business, currents of thought, in those days, said people had to dwell earth and everything in existance was made for the use and joy of humankind.

    Since the industrial revolution until now days, human's life has changed drastically. All the advances in science: medicine, technology, sistems etc. have contibuted, not just to improve human's lives, but also, unfortunatelly, jeopardizing our own supervenience, like the following reasons:
    1) Medicine advances have impulse an exponential birthrate and overpopulation. We have adapted so good to this world that, now, we are a kind of cancer or plague to our planet. I have friends that have known their great-grandparents and have children as well, that is: 5 generations living in a same period of time.
    2) Technology, have create us many needs and thus we have become very consumerist and materialistic society, having to consume huge quantities of resources, sometimes unecesary; some others unificiently, creating ecology devastation and inmbalances in our environment.
    3) Systems like economy have made many injustices. I believe this is the greatest flaw in this issue because it has create a greate gap between societys, countries and people. And the problem with this is that this creates ignorance as there exists a correlation between lowincome - low, inefficient education or non-existence at all.

    (MORE)
  • Sep 23 2012: (CONT'D)

    So, just to conclude, I think birth control is definitely a very important part of the solution. But it's missing the how. How can we control birthrate? Let's be reaasonable, we can not imposse people not to have children. It might be, probably, something that future generatioms will have to do as a way of survivance if we keep these birthrates. And, yes, I agree wars are one of the resaults from many of our exesses. Although we can not take it as a solution to control overpopulation. That would made us regress instead of progress as society and as developed beings.

    I believe the answer for many solutions for today's issues is EDUCATION; good education. Education that not just permit everyone have acces to the several fields of knowledge, but also that teaches ethics and good values that can inspire people and society to be be better; a "formative education" that can change the world.

    I know it might sound very naive, but it is a fact that good education change people's way of thinking and way of living.

    Let me put you an example. In Mexico, my country, we can find a huge gap between rich and poor people and we can clearly see the correlation, I was talking you about, good or competitive education - high income vs inefficient education - low income people, and the huge gap in the way of thinking. My parents' made has four children and two grand-children at the age of fourty, this is not an isolated case, actually it is pattern we can observe. Low-income people are more ignorant due they're enable to have goog education what they get is just a rickety education, and we can say it's one of the reasons they have more children at younger ages. If we could help improve the education sistem and let everyone have a formative education, we could help a lot in solving this problem. Another way to improve education are these kind of movements; TED's movement, where people can enrich their criterion and perhaps inspire society to be better.

    (MORE)
  • Sep 23 2012: (CONT'D)

    Another way to improve education is by improving the entertainment industry, as this is, every day more and more, the one who educate and transmit values (good and bad) to society. That's the reason I started to write scripts; to make stories that could inspire people to be better and thus contribute to cociety for better.

    If we could convince people to have less children, perhaps one or two; and if we could convince them, if they want to have children, have them at older ages, perhaps at 30's, I'm positive we could save the world and have a green planet again.

    The worst genocide of tomorrow is the ecocide of today.
    • thumb

      W. Ying

      • +1
      Sep 24 2012: Yes! I agree:

      (1) The “optimal point” of kid number per couple has changed instinctively from many into 2 or less for keeping our DNA alive --- the goal of our life.
      (2) We ourselves consume our own planet INVALIDLY.
      (3) MONEY destroys: empathy --- symbiosis --- peace --- humankind.
      (4) EDUCATION makes people know the “invalid happiness” leading us to self-extinction.

      Be happy validly!
    • Sep 25 2012: I agree with the opinion that education is the answer for many of today's issues. If we can create wide access to high- quality education that not only teaches math, science, and reading, but teaches problem-solving, communication, creativity, and other 21st century skills, we'll end up with a generation of thinkers, designers and innovators that can take on our current and future problems.
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    Sep 23 2012: Increasing populations will eventually force us to act. I guess that's what we are waiting for.

    However, as far as preparing for the future I think we can break it down a bit.

    1) Shelter
    The amount of space needed for each human is rather small. We aren't really talking about a "lack" of anything as we haven't even used all of the available land here in the United States.

    2) Resources

    This "danger" has existed for decades. I don't think we are in any danger of a crisis like you attempt to state here.

    We definitely have problems. I do agree that the environment needs to be our focus. However, how do we pay for green industry? Our problems extend far past "waking up" and almost dive into "how do we wake up"?

    Green industry is not a matter of choice...or something we are waiting for people to accept. It is very difficult to imagine how we plan to maximize industry...and manage environmental damage.

    Let's also note the positive role oil plays in our daily lives.
  • Sep 22 2012: accually it was when we learn refridgerate food that our population exploded
  • Sep 22 2012: I raise worms in my compost pile. They improve fertility of the compost. A friend of mine told me that she read that when food runs low the worms stop reproducing. Will we reach the intelligence level of worms before we exhaust the resource base?

    The evolution of intelligence is a large topic. One aspect is the issue of unrecognized self image being mixed up with self, or who we actually are. The self image is a mentally created illusion of who one thinks one is. The actual self is experienced as the kinesthetic sense ( kinesthetic - definition of [ The sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Greek k nein, to move ... ) of being in a body fulfilling biological needs.

    People functioning out of self image are competitive, aggressive, with disregard concerning the consequences of their actions upon the larger field of human well being. This is because once one is disconnected from the kinesthetic self one feels insecure. Insecure because the self image must constantly be maintained through accomplishment and acknowledgement or it begins to fade. This results in a feeling of anxiety, fear and a feeling of doom boarding on death because one has identified with a false self which can be killed off by not being validated and reinforced through accomplishment.

    From my perspective we have a ways to go, but some of us will survive to reproduce again.
  • Sep 22 2012: Good Question Jake .... being a "Half Glass Empty" kind of cautious thinker, I decided to skip the "having kids" part of my life. (Luckily, baby-sitting is enough to satisfy my maternal instinct.) Unfortunately, my twin brother had 4 kids and so .... he seems to have had my 2 for me ... or at least his various female partners have. Lordy-Lordy ... enough about my family!! The point is ... sigh ... I have serious concerns about the Earth's ability/Humankind's abilty to sustain (quality of) life on this planet. For the "Glass is Half Full" folks (like my brother) I hope you are right! In the meantime, I will try keep the three R's ... Reduce-Reuse-Recycle and try to not take more than I need in this life ... not easy to do in this very materialistic culture ... but I will feel less guilty if I at least TRY to leave something for my nieces, nephews (and for yours.) We have a small planet with some big problems ... Hopefully, with all of these people we will increase the odds of finding some creative innovators with real solutions.

    I have one suggestion: Provide quality education for all girls, boys and people (in general) . We will
    (statistically shown) have less population increase over time and the people will generally be more capable of meeting their potential.
  • Sep 22 2012: In the advanced countries, we are experiencing the oposite: a population crash, to the point where people are wondering how we are going to avoid a big labor shortage. In Japan, they are banking on robots, since they don't want to destroy their culture with immigrants. Have you noticed that some countries have such a low birth rate that they are not in danger of being swamped by population growth. So if the Industrial Revolution continues, and Feminist ideas spread, as they have been doing, the problem should gradually lessen. It all depends on cheap energy, but luckily that problem is on the way to solution as well: the Chinese are undoubtedly going to make Thorium LFTR power plants work. You'll hear about it in a few years, when they start shutting down their coal fired power plants, and replacing them with much cheaper Thorium power..
  • Sep 22 2012: To control population, quit making advances in medicine, don't save the children, feed the starving, have a socialist society, quit foreign aid, and quit intervening in foreign wars.
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    Sep 22 2012: Jake, here's an interesting study that might apply to your question about Infinite Growth...etc,. Poverty of course has a tremendous affect on anything we do to create a more sustainable future.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578008311635287522.html

    extract: "Moving low-income families out of poor neighborhoods doesn't help the families escape poverty, according to a new study, but it does make them healthier and happier.

    In a paper published this week in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Chicago, Harvard and other institutions, studied the effects of Moving to Opportunity, an experimental federal housing program in the 1990s that offered housing vouchers to more than 2,000 low-income families so they could move from impoverished areas into mixed-income neighborhoods. A separate control group had similar demographics but didn't move to mixed-income neighborhoods with the help of vouchers..."
  • Sep 21 2012: infinite grow will be limited by war,
    that's what happened over and over in history

    so you dont need to worry,
    • Sep 21 2012: That is an old fashion way of thinking about population control. If all people think that population control has to decrease by any other means but wars, then we all are a bunch of genocides, incapable of making more creative solutions and then we might desserve to be wiped out from existance.

      Do you really think so?
      • thumb

        W. Ying

        • +1
        Sep 22 2012: No!
        Please do not do that!

        Today's war will very probably lead to human extinction rather than population control.

        Will it be far easier to quit the silly invalid happiness to control it?
      • Sep 22 2012: it's not old fashion, it's still gonna happen , because you know, not all country in the world are developed country who has technology to prevent hunger , many countries still importing food, and when the exporter countries cant supply them anymore, what do you think gonna happen ? peace ? thinking about how to make food ? oh come on, people cant delay their need of food more than 3 days, many could do but not all, and according to human natural behavior, yeah there gonna be massacre, kanibalism, etc

        it's inevitable...you know not all people could use their brain in the crysis situation, most people will use violence...

        the effective way to prevent it is by birth control, government need to make a research about how many food vs human a country can supply so they can decide healthy birthrate value, so gov can decide whether it's time to only have one kid/family or more or not even one

        if they have surplus food then no birthcontrol but if there is a potential of minus food supply I think gov need to apply those 1 kid 1 family is enough
        • Sep 23 2012: Thank you so much for your response. You see, you're looking out for ideas to solutions, like birth control, it's just that it seems you haven't completed the whole idea.

          Let me share with you my cosmogony; the way I see this issue. In the past, people used to have many children, it was a part of their "modus-vivendi" for many reasons. First of all, the circunstamces they lived were very different: there was a lot of land to even explore, medicine was very limited and therefore live expectancy was very short, having many children was a way to increase the work force in the typical family business, currents of thought, in those days, said people had to dwell earth and everything in existance was made for the use and joy of humankind.

          Since the industrial revolution until now days, human's life has changed drastically. All the advances in science: medicine, technology, sistems etc. have contibuted, not just to improve human's lives, but also, unfortunatelly, jeopardizing our own supervenience, like the following reasons:
          1) Medicine advances have impulse an exponential birthrate and overpopulation. We have adapted so good to this world that, now, we are a kind of cancer or plague to our planet. I have friends that have known their great-grandparents and have children as well, that is: 5 generations living in a same period of time.
          2) Technology, have create us many needs and thus we have become very consumerist and materialistic society, having to consume huge quantities of resources, sometimes unecesary; some others unificiently, creating ecology devastation and inmbalances in our environment.
          3) Systems like economy have made many injustices. I believe this is the greatest flaw in this issue because it has create a greate gap between societys, countries and people. And the problem with this is that this creates ignorance as there exists a correlation between lowincome - low, inefficient education or non-existence at all.

          (MORE)
        • Sep 23 2012: (CONT'D)

          So, just to conclude, yes, I think birth control is definitely a very important part of the solution. But it's missing the how. How can we control birthrate? Let's be reaasonable, we can not imposse people not to have children. It might be, probably, something that future generatioms will have to do as a way of survivance if we keep these birthrates. And, yes, I agree wars are one of the resaults from many of our exesses. Although we can not take it as a solution to control overpopulation. That would made us regress instead of progress as society and as developed beings.

          I believe the answer for many solutions for today's issues is EDUCATION; good education. Education that not just permit everyone have acces to the several fields of knowledge, but also that teaches ethics and good values that can inspire people and society to be be better; a "formative education" that can change the world.

          I know it might sound very naive, but it is a fact that good education change people's way of thinking and way of living.

          Let me put you an example. In Mexico, my country, we can find a huge gap between rich and poor people and we can clearly see the correlation, I was talking you about, good or competitive education - high income vs inefficient education - low income people, and the huge gap in the way of thinking. My parents made has four children and two grand-children at the age of fourty, this is not an isolated case, actually it is pattern we can observe. Low-income people are more ignorant due they're enable to have goog education what they get is just a rickety education, and we can say it's one of the reasons they have more children at younger ages. If we could help improve the education sistem and let everyone have a formative education, we could help a lot in solving this problem. Another way to improve education are these kind of movements; TED's movement, where people can enrich their criterion and perhaps inspire society to be better.

          (MORE)
        • Sep 23 2012: (CONT'D)

          Another way to improve education is by improving the entertainment industry, as this is, every day more and more, the one who educate and transmit values (good and bad) to society. That's the reason I started to write scripts; to make stories that could inspire people to be better and thus contribute to cociety for better.

          If we could convince people to have less children, perhaps one or two; and if we could convince them, if they want to have children, have them at older ages, perhaps at 30's, I'm positive we could save the world and have a green planet again.

          The worst genocide of tomorrow is the ecocide of today.
    • Sep 22 2012: as long as some people supply food for profit or non profit people will keep bredding till something ends that supply of food then there will be mass famen and death and the people responsible will be the ones that supplyed the food
  • Sep 19 2012: We have economics, ala Paine, etc, and Marx, etc, and we have Eco-Ecnomics by Lester Brown.
    It's a given that the Brown economics is the only one we can practice at this point if we don't want to torch the planet in the next few hundred years. Perhaps someone will write a way more extreme economic thesis based on ecology.
    And when they do, in whatever country they do it in, perhaps they will be placed in prison, because we all want our toys and our heat and our electricity, and who's going to tell us any different?
    • thumb

      W. Ying

      • +1
      Sep 19 2012: Yes.

      We have to quit invalid happiness!
      It is the orign of all evils.
    • Sep 22 2012: Chris: As you say, we all want our ( whatever). But the heat and electricity, not to mention most other "things", depend on cheap energy. Thats how we got this far. Well, the cheap energy solution has already been invented. The only reason we have not been producing it for the last 40 years is ignorance . You'll be happy to know that the Chinese are developing our Thorium LFTR power designs as we speak, they plan to have 2 demonstration plants going in about 3 years. We could have done this, but the US had, and has, other interests, like football, and Creationism, etc. See Youtube, Thorium LFTR power if you want some details..
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    Sep 19 2012: I am inclined to agree with G. Barker's first sentence "The simple fact is that we can not." But I will put forth the undeniable fact that we must look off world for a future that will sustain continued and uninterrupted growth. If it is infinite expandability that you desire then we must set our sights on the infinite universe.
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2012: But.
      To quit invalid happiness is much easier than set our sights on the infinite universe.
  • Sep 19 2012: The simple fact is that we can not. What is not clear is if we will asymtopically approach a sustainable plateau or if we will overshoot and suffer a rather horrible die off. Right now I am thinking overshoot.
    All we need is for a general increase in health care in some high growth population centres and millions or perhaps even billions who would normally die will live to consume resource, food and water. That can cause a spike in the population that if acompanied by an unfavourable climate change will spark a population decrease.

    Or a space faring race of hungry aliens can come down and harvest us (as they do evey 100,000 years or so, when our population explodes).

    I'm not sure which future I would like to see less.
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2012: Ah!
      The easy and happy way to go is to quit silly "invalid happiness" and save more than 90% of resources on the planet.
      Wrong?
      • Sep 20 2012: No, not wrong, but also not easily achieved. This is another case of the tragedy of the commons style of problem. If I break the rules, I get a disporportionate gain over the loss that the public sustains.
        Also, in the long term (and as a species we really should consider the long view as more important than the next quarter) unconstrained exponential growth is never sustainable. Sooner or later the population of the earth must stop growing, sustain itself at that level or (more probably) fall back to some lower level that the earth can comfortably sustain while maintaining a healthy eco system.
        I personally think that given our blatent disregard for the environment needed by other species and our overfishing of the oceans, we are already far past the population number the earth would be comfortable with.
  • Sep 18 2012: There is an interesting documentary by Lester Brown on this topic (narrated by Matt Damon). This is a link to the free online book: http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/book_files/wotebook.pdf

    Myself, I think there is a tipping point that the world will reach, beyond which it will be impossible to recover. However, I do not think that humanity's course to this point will be very direct. When things go wrong, people will try to fix them. If people somehow determine that life is sustainable at current population levels, I don't think that maintaining the status quo will be very straightforward either. The worst case scenario is that we have passed the tipping point and that humanity is currently in decline and on the way to extinction. That would not be straightforward either (barring some kind of cataclysmic event), and outright extinction (i.e., zero human beings) is pretty unlikely I would think.

    The question does not center on the survival of humanity so much as on the quality of life we and our progeny enjoy while on this earth. How do we want to live before our star explodes? An interesting question: Considered as a single organism, how far is it even possible that humanity is in charge of its own fate? How much sentience and self-awareness can we attribute to the human organism?
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2012: Yes.
      Not far, humankind will be in charge of its own fate if it knows what the invalid happiness is.
  • Sep 17 2012: add me on fb
  • Sep 17 2012: There are ways to get the poblem of population increase and the rate of increament is highly reconizable with the limitd supply of resources. The ways to contol the growth has been developed as well as the implementation is taking effect in few regions.
    Still there is a large mass that is to be made aware of the problems arising due to the growth of population.
    We just need to wok on that mass to contol the population.

    The reason behind the increasing populaion can also be not ignored as well !
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2012: I think:
      The reason behind the increasing population is the invalid happiness.
  • Sep 16 2012: is time to begin to be aware of the birth
  • Sep 15 2012: Your question does not fit the dialog you write after it. Question should of been why we cant support infinite growth on a finite planet. Also the word 'infinite ' is out of context, should be unrestrained. Word can only be used in astrophysics and even there it is questioned.
    • Sep 17 2012: The use o words was understandable Mr. Walter. The wod finite can be made sure regarding the resources available on the planet Earth as well as the consumption can be measured as nothing today is for free.
      Now for the word 'infinite' the population is growing at a tremendous rate in various areas and the there is a pat of the population that is not recognized.
  • thumb
    Sep 15 2012: Remember that on this planet, water and nutrients never enters and water nutrients and never leaves. Of coarse, we are polluting our water to hell, but lets put that aside for a moment. It's all a cycle like a clock. Energy from the sun helps fuel that cycle.
  • thumb
    Sep 15 2012: growth is a misconception when it comes to success, productivity and need.

    flattening out, straightening the edges, filling the gaps... that is where I believe our efforts should direct themselves.

    in answer to your question... sustaining growth should no longer be our target. sustaining our planet should
  • Sep 12 2012: the answer to your problem is a simple one in theory but a extreme changeling when you try to put it into reality this planet is just a seed that we will in the future completely destroy because that is just the way it works we use the planet as a launch pad to expand the species in to space and then consume another planet that is the theory that i believe will work and that i see the only out come so its just a race between use stabilizing a good gate way off this planet that we can rely on or we lose the race and completely destroy our selfs due to over population and not enough resources for every one to have. just look at mars that was a civilization at one time that lost the race.
  • Sep 11 2012: We do not have infinite growth. We have cycles. With that said, the question is: How do we balance out those cycles. We need a communal city. We need fish farms and indoor gardening. We need to divide among the people the resources equitably. With technology as it is, we should be able to harness energy from renewable sources. Hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe, let's use it! It has been proven that water can be turned into energy source as fuel that will not harm the Ecosystem. Gas lines of HHO that will be the day. How much time will we need to use up our oceans? Talk about infinite growth!
  • thumb
    Sep 9 2012: I have a question that may apply to infinit growth.

    If you are not in the United States. Please tell me how much a bottle of Tide Ultra Liquid Washing detergent cost. In your countries money. If you go one step further and translate that into US money I would appreciate it.

    I'm trying to figure something out about volume vs. small markets.

    A 50 oz bottle of Ultra Liquid Tide washing Liquid cost on average $11.00 in the US.

    If you view this video you might get an idea of where I'm going with this question.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_neuwirth_the_power_of_the_informal_economy.html
  • Sep 9 2012: I remember reading about how the more developed a society becomes the lower the birth rate and the higher the average age.

    Here is an interesting image

    http://www.newscientist.com/articleimages/mg21428653.800/1-egypt-arab-spring-could-be-wasted-in-youthful-nations.html

    Although population is currently continuing to grow, the rate of growth seems to be decreasing. Looking up population projections it seems that overall population may actually reach some sort of peak and level off. Of course there are a lot of perhaps unpredictable factors. And this is not to say that we should not be trying to achieve more sustainable means to allow everyone a high quality of life.

    Here is another interesting read:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/mar/01/population.simontisdall

    UN figures suggest that within 50 years nine out of every 10 people will be living in a developing country. One in every six will be living in India where the current population of just over 1bn is projected to rise by 600m.
    By contrast, population levels in Europe and Japan are projected to decline sharply because fertility is falling below the "replacement level" - that is to say, below an average of 2.1 children a woman.
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    Sep 9 2012: Some say that we can as long as growth is transferred into non physical products of value, such as software or financial services. It is obvious that there are only so many resources on this planet, and more importantly, there is only so much the biosphere can be destabilized before it causes the economy to decline (due to things like climate change and fishery collapses).

    It is hard to say whether or not economic growth can be sustained solely by the non-physical economy. Indeed, some claimed that one of the warning signs of the recent recession was the large portion of the economy that was taken up by the financial sector.

    If we can just hold on and not devastate the ecology too much until we have viable space colonization and mining, then we could maintain constant growth. (at least for any forseeable future). Its hard to see whether that will happen considering how far off that is and how dire the ecological situation is at home.

    I guess we will just have to wait to find out.
    • Sep 14 2012: "It is hard to say whether or not economic growth can be sustained solely by the non-physical economy."

      If everyone saw an expansion of the World of Warcraft world as a source of happiness then that could in theory provide economic growth but there are two problems with this, 1) you can only trade your non-physical wealth for other non-physical wealth because physical resources are limited, so non-physical wealth is very limiting and doesn't work when you don't enjoy non-physical goods, 2) even non-physical wealth will eventually be limited by the number of programmers, the state of technology, and a scarcity of the physical resources you need to build and power a server.
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    Sep 8 2012: Has anyone considered what approaches to the population situation that the wealthy might take?

    As the resources that collectively create the world of Capitalism declines, the time will come when it's game over for the wealthy; time to cash in the chips. Unable to generate any more wealth, the poor will languish and decline in number (die off) relatively fast, because they are dependent on the wealthy for direction, jobs, food, health care.

    The truth is that a majority of the population contribute very little towards their own upkeep. Why should the wealthy even consider their fate? If they could draw together in a few locations, build their own city's and exclude all others, then nature would take care of the rest. After a time, there wouldn't be problems related to overpopulation or poverty.

    This is an alternative view and if I were one of the wealthy, I think it is one that would be heartily considered. The one solution that the wealthy have nightmares about is that the world would come to realize that there is one and only one solution to the problems of over population and poverty. The world would have to resort to Socialism and give up capitalism. Only by taking the wealth of each nation and using it collectively, can the majority of the world's people hope to clean up the mess and start over to make a better world.
    • Sep 14 2012: "The truth is that a majority of the population contribute very little towards their own upkeep."

      In terms of money yes, but judging by the rest of your comment I assume you understand that money can be deceiving because most of the wealth of the rich was created by poorer people who got paid less than the worth of the wealth they created (because that's the only way for a business to make a profit).
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        Sep 14 2012: You judge well because this is an alternative view, a what if scenario.

        I agree with your observation.
    • Sep 22 2012: John M. What a bizarre idea: that the "poor"(i.e. non-wealthy) contribute little to their own upkeep". Where do you think all this "Wealth" came from?! Certainly not only the efforts of the wealthy, with a few honorable exceptions, like Henry Ford. Indeed, "wealth" is a recent, post Feudal invention, having more to do with bookkeeping and bureaucracy than anything else. Before that , wealth was land ownershiip or at least control. of land. And of course, weaponry. Then came guns., and it was all over for the Feudal system.
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    Sep 8 2012: We cannot!
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      W. Ying

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      Sep 7 2012: Yes.
      I think the best way is to quit invalid happiness.
  • Sep 6 2012: Population growth is a huge issue, but don't worry... that chart looks much scarier than it actually is. Human growth is not infinite. The world population is actually expected to top off between 8 and 10 billion in 2050. That's because birth rates are continually declining all over the world, and the population is expected to reach replacement level (2.1 children per woman). Then, it will begin to decline.

    Unfortunately, the Earth's resources cannot sustain the current 7 billion people. It would take a total of 6 Earths to do that! Plus, the whole world is raising it standard of living, which in this globalized society means buying more stuff (using more resources). That means... well, we're pretty much fucked. I don't think technology can keep up with human recklessness (air and water pollution, depleted top soil and groundwater, shrinking rivers, deforestation, desertification, plastic soup oceans, mass species extinctions, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. etc. etc.)

    The one thing I always like to mention is that the problem with overpopulation is over consumption; the absolute number of people does not matter as much. There is actually a theory that says that if the people in Africa were to have less children, they would raise their standard of living, and therefore put more of a strain on Earth's resources. So, I feel that overpopulation can be blamed on the more-developed Western countries, more so than the families in Africa having 5 children.

    Overpopulation: Too many people for the available resources. .... So, overpopulation can be, and is, spoken about regionally and locally. Mumbai is overpopulated. Robinson, IL, USA is not. ....

    Geez! I could talk about population for hours! I'll stop now, lol.

    *I also think homosexuality might very well be a natural population control.
  • Sep 6 2012: I just heard on the radio that 6 out of 10 families either have a family member who is gay or are friends with someone who is gay. Although humans are not sequential hermaphrodites, maybe human kind if evolving and combatting the surplus population by increasing the homosexual population. Sure gay couple have children but it is usually planned and thought out...two men or two women do not usually become impregnated accidentally.
    Either that or there have always been a large gay population but they stayed hidden because of the negative bias cast on them by society.
    I know...this is way out there, but I like to think where others dare not go. Would this help decrease the surplus population and when it levels out or starts decreasing we humans would resort back to heterosexuality? hmmm maybe this is natures way of sustaining the planet??
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      Sep 6 2012: Yes. It will help.
      But the main stream has to quit invalid happiness!
      Or, we have to go to self-extinction.
      I think so.
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    Sep 5 2012: There is a Ted Talk about population growth that would answer some of your questions. I don't recall the Talker but the content explained how the growth has not been infinite. The population of the world appears to grow faster and faster because people are dying at an older age. As far as you being scared of going against nature's way, this internet is as far from nature as you can get ;)
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      Sep 6 2012: I think :
      The goal of our life is to keep our DNA alive.
      Neither big population nor invalid happiness.

      Quit invalid happiness and every problems will be solved spontaneously.
  • Sep 3 2012: Population growth not only needs to stop, it needs to go into reverse. Family planning and birth control should be stressed via government policies and education. The mindset that growth is "good" needs to be changed. Religions need to get away from ancient doctrines involving reproduction and address reality.If we do not sensibly reduce our population over time, we will eventually, insanely, do it by killing each other in battles over the last remaining resources on the planet.
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      Sep 6 2012: Yes. I agree because:
      (1) Everything has its own optimal point. Population must be the same.
      (2) About 90% of our limited resources are wasted by invalid happiness today.
      (3) Quit invalid happiness can delay human self-extinction 100 centuries at least.
  • Sep 2 2012: A simple straight answer to your question is a big "NO", we cannot sustain infinite growth with finite resource.
    but let me also highlight that finite is a term invented to help human mind comprehend and reach a little beyond what it can comprehend, each century pushed the boundary of finite into the ever expanding space of infinite. There are two ways of looking for a solution, one difficult way is to limit humans greed, I know what I am saying when I say difficult way, the other is to keep exploring new worlds which is an easy way.
    If we look into history, the new world of America or a trade route to India was the necessity of the europeans of the day. Finding new worlds they did more because it was needed, the cold climate was unable to sustain the greed of the day within Europe and find they did eventually and the word was never the same again. Humans take the easy route of reaching out to new worlds to sustain our greed.
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      Sep 6 2012: Yes.
      Greed is a very good word for invalid happiness!
      Invalid happiness is anti-instinctive. Instincts are ancestors' successful experiences.
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    Sep 2 2012: Just check this link...in case you haven't watched......seems geometric progression of population growth will not sustain too long.......
    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html

    Moreover we have technology that has been evolving so far with our necessity.......
    • Sep 2 2012: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that 'polutaion' is population, which means this is a very good news indeed! Only thing is, now instead of living on the 70% of earth due to necessity, I will be living in the oceans primarily due to choice. Beautiful! ;)
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        Sep 2 2012: Sorry for the typo, but you read it right :)
        However I corrected the spell.
        Thanks
  • Sep 2 2012: Just like what Anne Thull said.

    Habitable land masses consist of only 30% of earth. The ocean consist of 70% of earth. When we start living under the sea (cue Disney song), we'll have improved our technology such that we can move out and live on other planets.
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      Sep 6 2012: The most easy and practical way is to quit invalid happiness. which makes up more than 90% of today's happiness.
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    Sep 1 2012: Jake, excellent post, this is something that has concerned me for quite some time. I think we all are becomming more aware of the growing problem of the abuse of power. For the government it would seem complicated, but for you and I it's a No brainer. Renewables...period. Whats the by product of solar energy ...nada. What's the by product of wind....nada. What's the by product of hydro electric...nada. What the by product of hydrogen fuels....water. Why are we not investing in it....because it's free. Why are we building out instead of up? Because it's cheaper and faster to clear the rain forests. The question is...what are we (the people) going to do about it? We have to call out our elected officials when they block renewable advancement through legislation. If we think that big oil and big energy are not blocking renewables and efficient technologies we simply have not been paying attention. We need to start electing officials who champion the shift to renewables and advanced agricultural methods. Our current electoral system only gives us champions of big oil and big energy because they have the most leverage. Please, anyone tell me that I'm wrong, Maybe I've missed something but I have not seen where we are even trying to turn the corner and move away from oil. We could use the same watchdog mentality to solve the population explosion. Fix the election system so the people can elect the right people for the job.
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      Sep 6 2012: I think:
      (1) The cause of the problems is invalid happiness.
      (2) The origin of invalid happiness is that we do not know the validity scope of happiness.
      (3) If we quit the invalid happiness, we will have about 100 times of resoures in excess on the planet
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    Sep 1 2012: Jake, don't worry. Necessity is the mother of invention. Stressors of all kinds lead to inventing. Nature will take care of herself, it's really clever the way it happens. Nature only permits productive organisms to move into the future. The human genome has bits that get turned 'on' or 'off' in one person's lifetime let alone at the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm. You may have noticed the huge changes in the weather. A large number of scientists are jumping up and down about the amount of ice melting around the world. Just think what a lack of clean drinking water will do to people, oh noted you already thought of that one. So given that ultimately you can only police your own behaviours, it seems the best an individual can do is to live humbly (like Ghandi) and try to live a peaceful and contemplative life, 'fight the good fight' on things that matter by growing your own food, recycling what you can and living as efficiently as you can. As they say the past is history, tomorrow is a mystery so all we have is today, which is why it is called the present. Can't remember where I saw that one. It's in the little things, the loving family, the reciprocations and of course using your right to vote. Ultimately I thnk it is about the butterfly effect, geniunely be who you are but try to live in love rather than fear.
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      Sep 20 2012: Yes.
      Try to live in love.
      Then, everybody will be happy to quit invalid happiness and save us all.
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        Sep 21 2012: 'then, everybody will be happy to quite invalid happiness and save us all' - not sure what you mean by invalid happiness. :D. Is it a reference to Positivism or did you mean something else ? Understand it used to be said a state of quiet melancholy was most useful for reflective thinking and ideas. Are you referencing a particular philosphophical viewpoint ?
  • Sep 1 2012: John: The situation you describe about being dependent on coal , made a lot more sense a hundred odd years ago, before the convenience of oil was discovred.
    You refer ro nuclear power as being inherently "dirty". I assume you refer to the long-lived radioactive waste material, since in every other way , nuclear plants are clearly "cleaner". Your point makes some sense if you are talking about the Fukushima type LWR plants, but the Thorium LFTR technology is totally different; it doesn not use Uranium, or high pressure steam, and the process can use LWR waste as fuel, because it "burns" the 99% percent of unused capacity in the LWR waste (safely destroying it, by the way; and the result is a very small amount of waste which is dangerous for only about 300 years, a far cry ffrom 17,000 years for LWRs.)
    You say Thorium is a pipe dream. Would you say that Uranium is as well?! In solid fuel form, it certainly has problems, but the Liquid fueled Thorium reactors do not.use sold fuel, and no high pressures. This whole system was demonstrated to work 50 years ago, for 4 years. There is nothing dreamy about it; but the Air Force decided that they didn't need any nuclear powered bombers, since ICBMs were more suitable.
    Are uou familliar with the term "energy density"? Thorium has about a million times the e.d. of coal or oil. pound for pound. There is no way we can contiine to base our civilization on coal , or any other carbon based fuel, there are just too many toxic side effects.
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    Sep 1 2012: The answer is simple; we can't.

    The only reason the West has been able to keep growing is because it was doing it to the detriment of the underdeveloped countries. This will change! Within 40 years the population in Africa will double. To meet that growth they'll need more money which won't come from some aid fund. All that so called financial aid is a way to keep them under developed. By then they'll have realised that it's time to claim what is theirs and stop the modern colonisation by China and others. Which will mean that the West will suddenly have to pay a lot more for their gold and diamonds but also Kobalt, coltan, copper (the key elements of a smartphone) and many more raw materials.

    So the population in Africa will double sooner than you think. Keep in mind that today, this very moment, the earth can no longer supply for all its inhabitants (humans & animals). -> The development of Africa will herald the end of the world as we know it. The West will no longer be able to enjoy its comfortable above his means lifestyle. Everything will become exponentially expensive which will be the start of a new economic crisis. Raw matetials and oil will deplete at an unseen pace with no alternative. And the world as we know it today will cease to exist.
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      Sep 6 2012: Yes. You are right!
      The only way to save us would be to quit invalid happiness, which accounts much more than 90% of today's happiness.
  • Sep 1 2012: John: my scenario is mostly based on the observation that technical problems of the sort we are discussing are simply MUCH easier to accomplish than political programs requiring empathy and Justice. Nobody's feelings get hurt in Terraforming, etc. Patriotism is not a factor.
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      Sep 1 2012: Shawn. If you offered this plan for serious debate in Congress or any government on planet earth, how many votes do you think you would get? How much funding?

      How many years away are we from building a rich person's fun house space station? How far away are we from building a rich man's private space craft?

      Everything you propose, with the exception of the Thorium is a pipe dream on the order of science fiction for at least a couple of centuries.

      Before you could accomplish any of those things you will need to solve the more practical problems facing society today with earth bound tools.

      Your proposals are preposterous.

      Nuclear power plants are inherently dirty. Coal plants are dirty in a different way. It would be easier to apply technology to make coal burn cleaner. Coal is a very abundant fuel source in the United States, and in China. When the vote is in coal will win. So we need to focus our creative talents (people such as you) on the real problem of creating a clean coal burning plant. You need to quit drifting in dream land and get focused
      Most of the electricity generated in America is from coal. If we were to stop using coal at this time , your computer would quit working, the internet would fall down and refrigeration, including air conditioning, would become unfordable for million of people.

      This is not an emphatic argument, it is a cold hard fact.
      • Sep 1 2012: John; You ask could we get votes in Congress. Maybe not,right now. But unless the media is lying even more than we thought, the Chinese, after having copied all the relevant records at our Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are at this moment undertaking a billion dollar Thorium LFTR project, supervised by a very high up official in their government. A Billion is what our own scientists calculate it would take to get the project off the ground, After that, it's goodbye coal. Gradually, of course.
        No one is to blame for all this knowledge being not widely known. The nuclear aircraftt engine was developed during the Cold War, secretly, of course. And it is standard for such projects that the engineers are sworn to secrecy about it. So a technology worth "50 Quadrillion dolllars "(1950 prices) sort of fell through the cracks.
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          Sep 1 2012: Let's hope your right Shawn. I'm still studying on the information you've provided so far. Got my spiders out. :)
  • Sep 1 2012: You have to take the long view. Things have changed dramatically just in my lifetime. I can still remember discussions in grade school where the topic was , how many children did the girls want to have? Six was not an uncommon goal. Nowadays, among my peers, it is not uncommon for couples to say that any children at all would interefere with their ski trips, or let's wait until we're forty. We of course, cheerfully assume that the whole world is going to follow our pattern, but to a great degree they are. Let's remember that one big reason for great population growth in in the past was the whole agricultural social model, which used to require large families. which is fading fast. Who would have thought that Japan or China would ever worry about labor shortages? Combined with the obviously shrinking job opportunities, one could expect drastically shrinking populations to come.Another thing: why this fixation on one overcrowded planet?! Isn't it obvious that space travel and multiple worlds are feasible, and since solving technical problems is orders of magnitude easier than getting justice for Serbs and Bosnians, or Jews and Arabs? Space colonization is a good way of finessing the whole political problem.Another positive point: the energy problem has been solved; we do not need to slash our civilisation down to 18th c. standards: Thorium LFTR type power plants , being cheaper than coal, and with fuel so plentiful that it is not worth fighting about, will enable our mad expansion to continue, and would solve a lot of the problems with it, like excessive carbon in the atmosphere, water shortages, etc.
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      Sep 1 2012: It would be great for the Indians but what about North America where supplies are not so readily available?

      Clean burning coal would be a good idea for the US, especially if we could capture the co2 and force feed it through tubes to South America and regrow the rain forest.

      In the long term we will use hydrogen as the main fuel of the earth. It's readily available and mixes well with other chemicals.
      • Sep 1 2012: John: I think there is a misunderstanding here. There is no such thing as "clean burninig coal", since it produces co2 at the very least, not to mention other life threatening ingredients. What I was referring to the the use of fissionable Thorium as a fuel. It has about a million times the "energy density" of coal or oil. (i.e energy per lb.) See Youtube : Thorium Liquid Fueled Reactor (LFTR) , Kirk Sorensen. for details. This system doens't produce ANY co2. Thorium is so plentiful it is not worth fighting over.
        Thorium is a much more practical fuel than hydrogen, although a Thorium plant could be made to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen is plentiful all right, but it requires a LOT of energy to produce.
        About South America and carbon sequestration, have you heard of "Terra Preta"? The natives down there did this before the Spanish conquest. No tubes required.
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      Sep 1 2012: One problem I never see mentioned about "moving to a new planet" so "we" can survive is the problem of logistics.

      How MANY would survive? Obviously, unless we had the capability to move everybody (basically evacuate the whole planet of all human life forms), somebody is going to have to be left behind. Sacrificed. Whatever.

      Theoretically, what is the difference if some people end up being sacrificed here so nobody has to leave in the first place? I'm not ADVOCATING that happen, but based on some of the predictions I have read in posts here, that is exactly what will end up happening. If a reduction of 4.5 billion people through death, disease, lack of resources leading to mass "whatever" happens, there may not be a need for the survivors to go anywhere.

      Again, I'm NOT ADVOCATING voluntary increased reduction rates of the population. Just trying to figure out the difference between the two types of sacrifices that humanity would encounter. If everybody can't get on the train when it leaves the station.....

      The idea of colonizing a planet means forming a COLONY there for future growth. Not moving your entire population to it.
      • Sep 1 2012: I don't recall any suggestion of moving the "Whole population". When Europeans started coming to the US, there was not even a thought of moving the whole population. Not necessary at all. And what is that about "sacrifice"?! If we move to improve our lifestyle, why is that a sacrifice.?
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          Sep 22 2012: I think it is very difficult if not possible to::

          (1) Be adaptable to a new planet.
          (2) Travel to the NASA found planet most similar to our earth at a distance of 600 light-years.

          So, the much easier way is to be happy validly,
          and thus save more than 90% of the resources on the earth for humankind to live for 100 centureis more.

          Wrong?
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    Sep 1 2012: By growing in ==> consciousness
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    Aug 31 2012: Everyone needs to be paying close attention to what Lindsay Newland Bowker is trying to say.

    I'll say it again:

    Everyone needs to be paying close attention to what Lindsay Newland Bowker is trying to say.
  • Aug 31 2012: I believe the answer to this question lies in both technology and education.

    Technology is growing exponentially, allowing us to better use the resources available to us and also to help replace what we have used. Genetically modified crops are a good example, for the same area of land, we can increase the crop production by a significant amount. Technology allows us to tap into resources which were never an option before, such as offshore oil and renewable energy resources (name your favourite). Society is veering towards more sustainable energy resources, as our dependency on oil has made an impact on our economy and daily lives. In the distant future, we might look to inhabiting different planets and making life flourish. Take a look at this article:

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast09feb_1/

    That will remove our dependency on just one planet!! Where does education come into play? Education helps us realize the importance of our planet and its limited resources. More people today care about the planet than perhaps 200 years ago. As we move into the future, we will see more people fighting to sustain our planet and change our lifestyles to help sustain the planets. Have we ever had energy-saving light bulbs or recycling bins in shopping centres 50 years ago? The human culture is changing and now we think more of our planet than at any point in the past.

    I am sure there is plenty more points I have missed or left out (I am reaching my word limit!!), but let me add this: I try not to think of it as having 250,000 new mouths to feed everyday, but rather 450,000 better educated young leaders being born to lead the planet. They will definitely steer us in the right direction. Have faith in the human race, as part of this generation I too plan to do my best to move things in the right direction. We will not let our home planet die =)
    • Aug 31 2012: Are you aware of a Resource-Based Economy? Because for what I have read in your post, it certainly would interest you. It states to base and manage our resources directly, world-wide, and without the use of money or debt of any kind. If you haven't looked into it, here the link:

      www.thevenusproject.com

      I am all for technology and education. Only then can we move forwards instead of backwards into Dark Ages.
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      Aug 31 2012: Low gravity environments have been shown to cause problems in the way the human body grows and functions. There are negative effects.

      People born on the moon can never return to earth. People born on Mars can never return to earth.
      • Sep 1 2012: J: An excellent reason to make sure that your target planet has enough gravity. There are feasibility studies already about how to do that. Terraforming.
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          Sep 1 2012: Terraforming..... that's when you put the horse before the cart right?

          Interesting subject I wonder if another alien race invented a way to control the flight of comets? Apparently the earth was bombarded with at least one huge comet made of ice; perhaps more.

          I'm a huge fan of transforming the earth we live on. We should practice here first to see if we can get it right. The earth already has the proper gravity, right amount of water, lots of soil, etc. But we appear to be moving in the opposite direction for some reason.

          Hard to believe, in the 70's, Much of the technology we are using today was considered science fiction. Terra-forming will be in that realm for many years. First, we have to have a way to get to those planets, capitalists to invest, experts (after practicing on the earth), and of course, some very brave people. We could do it with robots I suppose.

          In a way, if any microbes survived the trip to Mars on the Rover, we could be Terra-forming Mars right now. I'm sure they are dying to Terra-Form the ice moon of Saturn. I hear the Germans have develop a drill just for this purpose.

          Didn't we have a problem with meeting the Indians in the North American Continent for the first time? Something about germs.

          These are all wonderful ideas in the long term but we should be very cautious.
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      Sep 6 2012: I prefer your education.
      It is much easier to educate people to quit silly INVALID HAPPINESS than to go into space.
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    Aug 31 2012: If your so concerned why don't you pledge to not have children to offset the population boom? That's where it starts and nobody seems to want to be the ones to do it.

    Do you imagine some cutback in children in India and China while you can have your own kids? Seems to be the position of most westerners. People expect to be led by example on these sensitive issues.
    • Aug 31 2012: The problem is that even if you don't have any kids, it won't solve the problem. At the same time I'm not saying that means you might as well go off and have loads of kids. Not having kids isn't going to stop the majority of others not having kids. In fact, there is a whole other issue, if the people who are socially and environmentally responsible have no kids and thus bring up no socially and environmentally responsible kids, would that damage the prospects of future generations?

      In conclusion, I don't think it is that simple. (Perhaps have 1 or 0 kids instead of 2 or more?)
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        Aug 31 2012: The idea was that both sides stop having kids to moderate the growth, not one or the other. Everyone needs to cut back. Millions of people will only do it if everyone does it and its popular, nobody wants to be singled out.

        Think the solution could be rather easy, cheap and available birth control for men. If both genders can control whether they have a kid it lessens likelihood that it will occur greatly.
        • Aug 31 2012: Cheaper and more easy than a condom?

          I think the problem is bigger than contraception. Many people deliberately have lots of kids, most of them think it is their god given right to do so. Many more have kids out of pure irresponsibility; careless sex. It is a problem with peoples attitudes (due to religion, culture, education or apathy) rather than better forms of contraception. A few responsible couples choosing not to have kids will not effect the majority. I expect many couples are more likely to look upon the couples who have not had kids as self-righteous hippies, and have kids just the same.
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          Aug 31 2012: If we quit having kids, who will we use for cannon fodder in times of conflict?
        • Sep 1 2012: robots?
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          Sep 2 2012: Hahaha in India 50% people are ashamed to buy birth control pills or condoms. Poppulation growth is one thing India is contributing in big time. We do have less space, hardly any resources or money which is sitting in most politicians accounts in swiss banks and still here we are growing and growing, infesting like a disease. I don't mean to be rude against my own country but please we got to get a hold on this.

          What the psyche here in India with lower classes (the main population having so many kids) is that they feel more kids (boys) they give birth to, more money they will get as soon as the kid is able to walk. Child labour is something frowned upon and yet done by the same people. Lac of money drives these people to take such steps. Can't blame them either. Politicians are all we have to blame and just blame, no action can be taken. Either we will be found dead if we raise our voice or be crucified in the media for raising such a voice. There are millions of things that are wrong with this world. Your issue is one, i feel strongly about people killing people and it terrifies me cuz it has no end and no limits.

          I know i haven't given you any answers or anything but mostly crib about our ways, but it's knowledge from someone else's perspective about other things and any kind of interaction i feel teaches you a lot.
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        Sep 1 2012: Careless sex occurs primarily because people don't want to use contraception, people's existing habits dictate that they're perfectly willing to pop a pill ever morning, but highly unlikely to wear a condom everyday, particularly if they're married. Condoms aren't available in many countries because people associate using them with admitting your sick or they're for 'dirty' people, most women don't get to use contraceptive pills because it promotes promiscuity so there ends up being no protection at all. So yeah contraception isnt a magic cure.

        Apathy is the largest problem, and its something no amount of medication can change. People do things because they think its in their best interest or it doesn't make a difference their life already sucks too much, nobody does something over and over just to torment themselves. Countries with the least population growth have the most comprehensive welfare programs, both Japan and Western Europe had large populations before but wealth and education changed that. What the world needs is a tangible financial and social substitute for children, i recommend better jobs. Because feeling your going up in the world, makes people naturally plan better and stay on track. Some body working on a dollar a day, in the same job for generations collecting garbage isnt particularly concerned about the overpopulation, people need to have a stake in the solution - to care.
        • Sep 1 2012: "Because feeling your going up in the world, makes people naturally plan better and stay on track. Some body working on a dollar a day, in the same job for generations collecting garbage isnt particularly concerned about the overpopulation, people need to have a stake in the solution - to care."

          Good point
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      Sep 6 2012: Easy, easy!

      (1) Every couple has two kids and no more.
      (2) Every one quits invalid happiness to save much more than 90% of the resources on the planet.
      (3) Then humans can delay their self-extinction 100 centuries at least.

      What we need to do is only be happy validly!
  • Aug 31 2012: Many of the faithful will default to a higher power and feel secure that He is in charge.

    Those who seek some relief may be helpless as well, but challenges can bring out the best or perhaps the worst in us.

    The world human populations were relatively small and stable for much of human history. Life was typically short and harsh. Today we live in a brave new world. For many of us things have never been better. Aging nicely with all the conveniences and comforts imaginable including leisure time for TED, but is all well in Mayberry?

    I like to fish. A species can be over harvested (I actually catch and release) and that is why we have regulations and hatcheries, but there is more. Many fish are being genetically engineered (GMOs) to produce a larger version of the fish than the original (wild) species that can be farmed. This new organism can now be patented and make an entrepreneur wealthy overnight. These GMO fish will interbreed with the natives and that activity can changes everything. These experimental fish can exhibit undesirable features and cannot be retrieved once released. GMOs is big business. This activity is going on all around us made possible by biology with incredible expanding technologies designed to genetically alter living species spurred on by financial gain for an instant demand.

    As a naturalist I am not a purist, but I don't like patents on living organisms or genetic material. I don't like this activity at all without tight controls. The fact is, it may be the only way to generate significantly more food to sustain our exploding world populations for a few more decades.

    I subscribe more to prevention than treatment, but noone seems to be rushing this direction.
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    Aug 31 2012: There is a lot to say about this topic and it can addressed from a number of different angles so i am just going to take the general route. The only way we will cope with this legitimately underrated problem is through technological advances. Changing human psyche is not a "number of years its going to take" but more of a "generation" thing. i like to think optimistically and that we will overcome this but sometimes i worry about whether we will adapt in time. Because to me, society today seems to be a "me" society.
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      W. Ying

      • +1
      Sep 6 2012: I think:

      (1) "Changing human psyche" is much easier than quitting smoking. It is just to quit the silly INVALID HAPPINESS by resoning.
      (2) "Through technolgical advances" is difficult and unreliable. It is a big gamble.

      Be happy validly!
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        Sep 6 2012: I agree, but to "quit the silly invalid happiness" by reasoning is just what i am referencing. That would be a tough hurdle to over come because the world is not unified enough, everyone does things for themselves, with the exception of a few that live to benefit society. Yea technological advances would be a big gamble and frankly after thinking about it, i would go that route either considering how far we have come with it.
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    Aug 31 2012: John - you're photo is Great - how funny!
    Gosh! ....It's never over --- for heavens sake - you really made me laugh!.
    .... it took only two men / leaders to give millions of people freedom from Communism - I think Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan will be remembered as two men who positively changed the world in this century - if the History books are written correctly; and both had resistance within their own governments- but did what they agreed was right.

    John, I'd be leery of people who encourage you to feel things can't improve...
    ...they could be trying to kill ' your spirit ' - I think - ...and that's the fun part of living.....
    ....you and others are Creative - and that - is Great Power...Creativity brings Change...

    Each of us has to work toward changing things for the better, in our own small way --
    - that is how new movements begin - and they eventually move mountains...as they did throughout the centuries.....

    Jules Verne novels ( 1870's) - what a great Visonary = that's what We need to be today, for children of the future.
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    Aug 30 2012: Dear Lindsay nice to see you.....this is a direct answer to Jake question....and maybe you can provide the extense data to sustain it...

    Stop with the stupidity and begin with creativity....
  • Aug 30 2012: It is impossible to sustain infinite growth on finite planet. Either, mankind will migrate to other planets or mankind will collapse on this planet.
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      Aug 30 2012: I'm giving ten to one odds on collapse.
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      Sep 8 2012: The most important question is:
      Can our adaptation ability meet the requirements of immigration to other planets?

      Let's stay on the earth and save more than 90% of the resources by quitting invalid happiness.

      Be happy validly!
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    Aug 30 2012: I agree in part Efrain....the desecration of the Rainforest is a prime example...

    ...for thousands of years the American Indians lived in America and the land remained pristine...the tribes fought each other to maintain territories but the main hunting grounds were always open to everyone ....they honored the earth, the universe and the afterlife - they were light-years ahead of us in many important ways....Our World is going through a difficult growth spurt. There's always upheaval with change. I don't believe 'humans develop knowledge to defeat nature at a faster rate'. I think the 'real problem' is disguised, and based on economics and lack of knowledge.
    Examples:
    Economics
    Corporations need special plants to produce medications. Certain Countries need money so they 'sell off' parts of their Rainforest. But if those Countries realized they could make more $ by protecting their Rainforest as a 'World-Greenhouse' they would change. They could sell a certain number of a plant 'cuttings' per year. Then, corporations would need to develop their own "Corporate Laboratory Rainforest-Greenhouse" to multiply the plant. The natural Rainforest would flourish. The Country needing money would thrive by protecting Nature, and Corporations would have more control over future products. Next, the people buying the product would need to demand the medications available to purchase have " no serious side effects ". Today is seems 'people' are the laboratory-tests for the corporations..

    Education
    News Reporters of yesterday, gave people more Facts, and let them make up their own minds. Today, news stations control people even more by what they let them know - they skew facts. People do not receive the information they need to control their own behavior. They buy a medication and later find it's killing them/side-effect = If Society is defeating Nature, it's by default, in my opinion. Uninformed people cannot make correct decisions for themselves.
    • Aug 30 2012: I'm just concerned that nature takes millions of years to develop a plant with specific characteristics and we, the humans, can do the same on a decade. For example herbicide resistant plants, florescent pigs, goats that produce spider silk or cows that produce human milk. This scare me because we are playing without measuring future consquences. Trying to control the nature by imposing our controls will be correct?
    • Aug 30 2012: I'm wrong. I must say 'humans develop knowledge to try defeat nature at a faster rate' because we are not defeating nature with our actions. Thank you for the correction.
  • Aug 30 2012: This is a very good topic! Unfortunately... 'soylent green are people'. Google it.
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    Aug 30 2012: -I think our way of life will take care of the imbalance...diseases will kill us off at a faster rate as time progresses.
    -Younger people are electing not to have children or to have 1 or 2 children vs. previous generations.
    -The majority of our planet is ocean - We will probably find ways to build submarine cities and live under and above the ocean.
    -Perhaps we'll begin to create air-space stations to live on - and the 'Jetsons' ..(cartoon 1962-63) will come alive - finally!
    ( I thought it should have happened by now). This will show you some options that we still have to create: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyinD6ZDqeg
    -Nature will take care of it: a meteorite will probably hit the earth sometime in the next 1000 years which will clean it up .
    • Aug 30 2012: The problem is that humans develop knowledge to defeat the nature at a faster rate. Our way of think and behave is not natural. No other animal in the planet behave like us.
      Our society structure does not permit that we live better, Even our economic model does not sustain it.
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      Aug 30 2012: The time to do those things have come and gone Ann. It's over.
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      Sep 8 2012: I think:
      The most comfortable way is to quit invalid happiness and save over 90% of resources and energy.

      Be happy validly!
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    Aug 30 2012: Those who rule this planet have already employed the finest minds on the planet to compute the logistics that will lead to large scale overpopulation on this planet. They already know the game plan and the solution. The key element in all calculations is energy production.

    Fossil fuel is running out, everybody knows that. Green energy is a great replacement for a world population of about 1.5 to 3 billion people.

    All we need do is calculate how long before the fossil fuel runs out to fix the time of the Die Off. To fix the number of people left on this planet afterwards all we need to do is subtract 3 billion from 7.5 billion to get the number of those that will die.

    I believe the number is: 4.5 billion.

    We will never reach 9 billion in your lifetime. Those under the age of 40 will live through and see the greatest human die off in the history of this planet. If you're still alive, afterwards, you will be the start of the new green revolution that will take us to the stars. The rest of us will be history.
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      Sep 8 2012: I do not like the greatest human die off.
      I prefer to quit invalid happiness and save over 90% of resources including energy.
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        Sep 8 2012: It is a sad story. How do you quit invalid happiness?
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          W. Ying

          • +1
          Sep 23 2012: For an example:

          Once we discover that we use our instincts in wrong invalid conditions, we will laugh at ourselves and say how silly we are!

          So, be happy validly!
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    Aug 30 2012: Unfortunately it can't, it also cannot sustain an infinite growth of growth rate. That happens when natural resources are depleted faster than they can regrow.

    I made up a somewhat philosophical analogy which I am very proud of and which annoys my close family because they hear me say it a million times over. There are two kinds of organisms, type 1 grow and proliferate, and they survive and pass on their genes to the next generation. Type 2 also grow and proliferate but in the process they also destroy themselves and the environment that feeds them. Cancer is a type 2 organism and humans can also potentially be type 2 organisms if they make irresponsible choices.
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      Sep 8 2012: Yes!
      Humans are type 2 organism.
      But they can change into type 2 if they give up their invalid happiness.
  • Comment deleted

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      W. Ying

      • +1
      Sep 23 2012: Yes.

      All the "population explosion, pollution, disease of lifestyle ... " are SILLY invalid happiness.
      Just quit them!
      And we will be happy validly for 100 centuries more!
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    Aug 29 2012: I think the hard and undeniable truth to accept is that we may be upsetting the fundamental laws that balance nature and evolution of a species. It is our human nature to help those in need. As a civilized nation we cannot stand idly by and watch the tired, poor, and huddled masses succumb to famine and disease. The thought that they cannot help themselves is a catalyst for action to provide aid.

    I'm going to propose another hard question here; Should we consider the possiblity that by providing aid to those that cannot help themselves and contribute to their own survival be upsetting the natural order and eventaully contributing to our demise? Should we allow the natural progression of a people to occur without interfering? Similar to the "prime directive" in Star Trek?

    I'll close with a quote from Nietzche, "God is dead, of his pity for man hath God died." Will our pity for man be our own demise?
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      Aug 30 2012: Jake,
      You haven't thought this through.
      You propose to eliminate empathy. But all mamals have empathy to some degree, and the social mamals have it to a high degree. Humans are the only ones experiencing this problem right now, so mamalian empathy cannot be the cause.

      At one time, the only thing that would lead an adult human to be unable to survive was the ground the community lived on.
      If the fossil record is correct, we were hunter-gatherers much like chimps or bonobos. If the ground stopped supporting us we would move.
      Then we became farmers, we lost the skills of huning and gathering. When the ground stopped supporting us (drought/over-cultivation etc), many starved before the hunter/gatherer principle made us move on.
      From hunter/gatherer to farm/town to city-state to nation state, we have incrementally lost our mobility.
      And yet, we see some places where poverty is rife in the midst of good arrable soil, with wildlife and abundance. We see places with starving children next to great crops destined for other places of soy and corn and poppies. What is this thing that keeps the children from eating what is in plain sight iof their eyes? It is money.
      Those fields, those mines, they are guarded with armed soldiers to make sure that all the wealth of the ground is taken away and heaped in mountains at the feet of the money-masters.
      Then those money masters assume it is their right to enjoy such "quality of life" and start proposing that empathy should be destroyed .. lest our own sense of guilt overwhelms us.
      I am sure we would not be so arrogant if we could just get our brains working.
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        Aug 30 2012: I'm not proposing it Mitch, simply proposing the question. I just gave a homeless man $20 last week because that was all I had in my pocket. How many of us can say we've done the same lately? I often like to play devil's advocate. :-)
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          Aug 30 2012: I thought as much. But it seemed apropriate to play it out.
          Empathy is not the problem - otherwise we'd be up to our ears in wilderbeasts and chimpanzees.
          No, i think our problem lies in systems-closure practices that started with farming.
          Property was not invented by recent economists - it was invented the instant someone put a fence around a field .. then became truly toxic when someone put a chain around another person's leg.
          It has something to do with how we treat value - there is no distinction in money between what has expired, what gives value now and what may give value in the future. Our system is too dumb to work in an open system. The invisible hand has a moron attached to it.

          One has to ask: why was a homeless person in need of $20?
          I know I have certainly done the same.
          Can it be that in the city, there was no forest in which to gather? No animal to hunt?
          Why then has the homeless man not pillaged a vegitable garden or eaten a cat or pigeon, robbed a store?
          Answer - because he knew that he'd be worse-off if he got caught violating property.
          Our civillised sensibilities leave him no recourse to his hunter/gatherer herritage.

          How then do we open the systems and avoid the threat of extinction at the same time?
          If the wilderbeasts get in our vegie patch .. well, I suppose we'll be eating wilderbeast for a while. Perhaps we should be erecting fences, not to protect the crop from the wilderbeasts, but to protect the wilderbeasts from us?
          If we are to continue using money, why not pay each woman who bears a child for the damage childbirth does to her? If the payment was constrained to just the first 2, would this influence exponential population? Then if the community is then forced to pay the parent for the full value of child-rearing, would the element of breading-slave be removed from the burden of women?
          Why do we wax lyrical extolling the joys of motherhood when the process is so ugly, painful and risky? Why do we lie to women about this?
      • Aug 30 2012: Mitch, you seem to have recognized the root cause of this flawed and corruptible system: money. It privatizes, segregates, and turns individuals into nothing more than Human Resources. We are reaching a tipping point of overpopulation on this planet, that is a fact. What is not so well understood as yet, is that we do not need an economy revolting around money (no real referent to resources), but a social shift into a Resource-Based Economy. A man name Jacque Fresco from The Venus Project first coined this term. He also recognized this issue being the root cause of all 'evil'. We must not look away, nor to old systems, Jake. The solution first comes when we recognize there to be a problem. Perhaps the following documentary might clear some questions:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KphWsnhZ4Ag

        Unless we wake up to the reality, that this money-oriented society cannot possibly grow into the future, overpopulation will certainly be the least of our problems, for we will have destroyed ourselves before the advent of it.
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          Aug 31 2012: Hi Jan,

          Fresco brings in a few concepts that have value in the discussion. Things like true motivation, and the redefinition of work. However, the Venus project still reads like the underpants-gnomes' 3-stage project plan: stage #1 get underpants, Stage #2 ??, Stage #3 make heaps of money (still working on stage #2).
          Money is an extension of farming. But it is the involution of the farming principle - turning the practice invented to apply to other species to bare on humanity itself. It is the practice of systems closure.
          Rather than taking the Fresco approach, let's dismantle the farming meme itself, re-construct it with permiability and just set it loose Rather than build it, let it build itself.
          You see, all these things- farming/money etc, act as meta-viruses - they survive by turning the environment to their advantage and have used humans as their vector.
          When viewed from that perspective, it is not humanity destroying teh environment, it is the meta-viruses that infect us.
          And they are not fully evolved - no fully evolved parasite kills the host.
          So rather than fixing ourselves - let's hasten the evolution of the virus?
          To do this, one must fully analyse the absolute components of the metavirus and its environment and how the virus influences its environment for self-persistence.
          Then re-configure it to remove the terminal tendency and set it loose. If it is viable, it will quickly force its ancestor into extinction.
          Here's an example (next post):
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          Aug 31 2012: (contd.)
          Make all currency digital.
          legislate 2 bank accounts for every human to be established.
          Legislate for all humans to have a device for purchase and a device for sale of goods/services (e.g card and card-swiper).
          Legislate for account #1 to be the chequing acount and account #2 to be the investment account.
          Cap the chequing account to provide only sufficient funds for day-to-day expenses and income.
          Any balance exceeding the cap is automatically transferred to the investment account.
          Legislate that funds in the investment account cannot be spent on personal property or services - they must be spent on behalf of someone/something else.
          All payments enter the chequing account.
          Funds entering the investment account can only enter from the attached chequing account.
          Taxes are levied on the investment account by way of mandating the disbursal of the tax levy to community approved projects at teh account holder's discression.
          This system prevents wealth concentration and removes power concentration in government. Government is then re-connected with the electorate with every disbursment of tax dollars being a vote on proposed policy/programs.
          Social justice is achieved by adjusting the cap threshold on account#1.

          But, once again, the trick is to get it implemented, and it still does not solve the separation of environment from humanity.
          For that we need to change the farming virus.
        • Aug 31 2012: Mitch you have got to be kidding me.
          I have met some people with some very out there ideas but you my friend take the cake!!!
          What you are talking about it lunacy
        • Sep 1 2012: Fascinating. but perhaps the other Mitch has an alternate idea?
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        Sep 24 2012: Yes.

        EMPATHY is good. It is symbiosis, which makes humans survive.

        MONEY is bad. Money owners think money can buy everything including survival. But actually they can not. That is why there are the poverty, 1% vs. 99% , wars, … human self-extinction ….
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          Sep 24 2012: W. Ying,

          Empathy is the basis of the social organism.
          The socialisation of an organism multiplies its potential agency.
          Increased potential agency multiplies adaptability.
          Adaptability is the basis of survival in a dynamic universe.
          Money serves itself.
          It harvests the potential agency of the social gestault and reduces potential adaptive response to the changing universe.
          It is a systems closure. Just as putting a fence around a farm.
          When you close systems they can no longer disipate the energy dynamic within them.
          All closed systems are subject to exponential concentrations of the energies within them.
          Exponential concentrations lead to singularities.
          Singularities burn-out everything they touch causing total and sudden systemic collapse.
          Everyone points to GDP growth and More's Law as wonderful things.
          I see them as the last stages to the total and sudden burnout of the systems closure we began with farming.
          But, all is not lost, if we open our systems we might get a chance for a new system dynamic.
          If not, well, it will all burn out, and we are still adaptable as hunter/gatherers.
          I'd prefer to avoid the massive grief of total systemic burn-out.
          We can adjust our virtiual parasites to serve us, or we can just let them incinerate themselves.
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    Aug 29 2012: The old puzzle asks, "If lily pads double their coverage of the pond every day and the pond is half-covered on day 13, on what day will the pads cover the entire pond?"
    That is exponential growth. So for "infinite growth" as you say, I think the Earth would be covered at some point and the Mathusian Limit would kick-in. Infinite growth cannot be sustained without infinite growth in the ability of the planet to support life.
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      Aug 30 2012: Interesting analogy. I used to lease a small marina on a large creek in Florida. We were invaded by Water hyacinths soon after I took over the marina. I watched them grow till they covered the entire waterway. It hurt my boat renting business.

      I tried raking them up and piling them on shore but it was a loosing battle. I tried feeding them to my rabbits and that worked ok but I'd need thousands of rabbits. It all happened so fast. Once navigation was stopped, we realized we had a serious problem.

      The key thought here is there was a natural limit or a tipping point (unable to navigate the waterways) when it became obvious to us there was a real problem that we could not control. The tipping point was also the point of no return and we were forced to use unprecedented measures (poison the water and kill the plants) to control the situation.

      Some vital systems we need to support modern life are:Transportation, energy production, food supply, clean water air and soil.

      If either of these stop working the others automatically fall offline as a result in a cascading effect and we are suddenly at the tipping point.

      With only a 3 week supply of food (nationally) in three weeks everyone will start killing each other for food.

      That is when the die off starts.

      Because there are not enough troops, police, etc to handle the situation, Just like in Hurricane Katrina, they will leave their posts and go to their families. It will continue until the population reaches a point that it can sustain itself. There will be an enormous amount of dead bodies and the subsequent sickness that will follow, killing even more.

      There is no such thing as infinite growth in nature.

      When it's my families life our yours, there is no such thing as friendship.
      When the foods gone, money is worthless; the new rich will be those with food who can protect it.

      We got ride of the Water hyacinths by poisoning the water. It was the only thing that worked in the short term.
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        Aug 30 2012: You fleshed out my illustration. Man is ruining the planet. We fiddle with probable causes (overpopulation, carbon dioxide accumulation, viruses, etc.) while Rome burns. Mr. Maddox's question implies that the probable cause is "infinite growth." It is tough to solve a problem that is undefined, or treat an ailment that is undiagnosed. Perhaps the question we should seek an answer for is: "What is wrong?"
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        Aug 31 2012: Sure John, I'll share my ideas even though they are off-topic.
        1) Developing countries are growing faster than others, probably due to increased food production via non-sustainable petroleum based fertilizers. That trend will change and mass starvation will ensue.
        2) Birth rates (134 M/yr) will probably remain steady while death rates (56M/yr) are increasing (see #1).
        3) The rate of population growth is slowing (see #2). Some predict this trend will continue until growth becomes negative.
        4) As with #1 above, the "problem" is regional. 52% of Earth's people live in China, India, and Africa.
        I think Malthuse was right, even though his predictions were inaccurate. The planet is our pantry. If it is destroyed, or neglected, we starve. It is not a population problem, it's a management problem.--Edward
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          Aug 31 2012: I see no argument with anything you present. We are on the same see-saw.
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          Sep 1 2012: Excellent post, Edward. One thing I have always considered strange is environmental groups proposing that we, as Human Beings, "Save the Planet". That seems rather egotistical to me, like we have the ability to destroy it. Nature has tried to destroy it many times in much more severe ways than we will ever be able to do...asteroid impacts, etc.

          What the environmental groups should do is rename their proposals to, "Save Our Own Butts". The planet won't care if we all go extinct because we messed up the environment to the point we could longer survive in it. The planet will recover and press on without us.
        • Sep 1 2012: Sorry buddy but maybe you explained that.. It’s a ‘slogan’ meant to be snappy, politics. Although, I suppose yes; ‘save yourselves’ would be more apt..
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          Sep 2 2012: Hi Edward,

          I'd agree that it's a management problem.
          But the solutions cannot be heuristic. They must be systemic.

          We normally view management as an hierachial function - command and control.
          But command and control operates only within the definitions of the hierarchy.

          To exceed the failing system, one must change the system.
          This is the new management paradigm - it oprates by design, not command.
          And what is designed is not heuristic rulesets, it is systemic flows that organise themselves with no need of control.

          And this new paradigm does not require any special wealth or prestige - it is bottom-up by nature. Anyone at all can design a systemic construct and simply let it loose by way of demonstration. If the systemic design is correct, it will self-multiply and subsume ambient systems.
          The bottom-up systemic solution is not threatened with burnout - it relies on exponential growth - not for the purpose of growth, but for the purpose of saturation.
          In hierachial systems, exponential growth ultimately destroys the system, in open-systemic constructs, the exponent ceases as an operating factor upon saturation - because it is the post-saturation environment that is the goal.

          Just how to do this is our challenge right now. The design incorporates all the factors that sustain humans - and acknowledge the environmental factors that contribute to cyclic renewal. The construct must have the capacity to absorb, dissipate and re-cycle the elements that are currently experiencing burnout.

          The study of "memes" is important in this work - it must be married-up with computational theory in order to identify the materials of which the design is built.
          http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/stephen_wolfram_computing_a_theory_of_everything.html
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          Sep 24 2012: Yes, it is a management problem.

          It is a problem to be happy validly or invalidly!
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    Aug 29 2012: Infinite growth never was, never will be within a limited environment.
    So in the past from time to time there was a setback to make room for growth.

    At first there was a limited area to exploit and over time this area became larger and nowadays envelops the world.
    So any setback was minor and dispersed in the past but will become major and total in the future.

    Everyone is working on it whether knowingly or not.